Moving to Sudbury: Some Comments About Our New City

 

Over the past 27 years my wife and I spent a great

deal of holiday time in Northern Ontario pursuing our

outdoor activities.  We decided to investigate the

pros and cons of moving North in order to be closer to

our outdoor interests. We were also becoming

increasingly disenchanted with the declining quality

of life in Southern Ontario.   We moved to Sudbury

June 24 2004 from Burlington Ontario.

 

Both of us had retired just over a year previous to

moving here.  We are young seniors.  We spent 3 years

seriously researching  our move. After investigating

other cities and towns we chose Sudbury.  There was no

contest.

 

Based on our research and visits to the city we

decided that we would  move to Sudbury and live here

for two years.  At the end of this time we would

reevaluate the decision.

 

What follows is our reaction to this city after three

weeks and an update after 9 months of our move.

 

Concerns After Three Weeks

 

- Traffic crossing signals do not give older people

enough time to cross major streets.  An example is

Paris near the hospital and Bell Park.

 

- The city is becoming too car oriented.  Mall parking

lots are scary places to be.  Need to promote the use

of buses.

 

- Bike riding (popular among younger seniors) is

difficult in Sudbury.  The city should look at

creating a bikeway system in the city.  This is

becoming common in Southern Ontario and seniors moving

up here would expect a comparable system in this city.

 

Water quality is a concern. Ramsey Lake serves as

the reservoir for 40% of the people of the Sudbury.

The amount of development and planned development

around the lake will negatively effect water quality.

Increased use of motorized water craft will add

petrochemicals to the water.  Not only will drinking

water quality suffer but the visual quality of the

water could suffer as well.  People from the south

hope they would be moving away from problems like

this.  Ramsey Lake is too important an asset to allow

more development along its shoreline.  The number of

power boats must also be controlled.  I’ve read that a

student attending Laurentian University is studying

Ramsey Lake for the first time!  I hope that council

gets a look at her findings when they are published.

Other lakes in the area should have impact studies

done so development does not exceed the carrying

capacity of the lakes.

 

The life and vitality is being sucked out of the

downtown.  There is too much large scale mall

development on the periphery of the city.  The

downtown is headed in the direction of Hamilton’s

downtown.  Downtown revitalization must be a priority. 

Downtowns go a long way to define a city.

Malls and Walmarts do not.

 

Is Sudbury considering a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides?

Not being able to get a family doctor for three

years is a personal concern of mine.

 

Is the Better Business Bureau (Chamber of Commerce)in Sudbury an

effective protector of consumer interests?

Will basic services and infrastructure serve me as

well as I was served in Burlington?

 

I am struck by the reaction of Sudburians when they

find out that a person from the south would choose to

live in their city.  They cannot believe that I chose

to move here.  It seems to me that Sudbury has to be

rebranded in the minds of its citizens.   This has to

happen as the most effective sales job of this city

will ultimately be done by its citizens.  A citizenry

that is openly proud of their city will do more than

any marketing campaign to make others want to live

here.

 

On the Positive Side After Three Weeks

 

In my mind the positives outweigh the negatives.

 

I have enjoyed the following aspects of Sudbury:

 

The multiethnic flavour of the city.

The festivals: Northern Lights, Italian Days, Dragon

Boat Festival.

Bell Park is as fine a city park as I have seen

anywhere.

The variety of restaurants and cafes within the

downtown area.

The unpretentious, openly friendly people.

The slightly slower pace of life where even on the

job people feel they have time to talk to you.

The absence of severe traffic jams.

The rugged beauty of the city with its green mantle

of planted trees.

The many venues for outdoor activity right within

the city limits.

The more than adequate retail shopping

opportunities.

Ramsey Lake.  I have walked by it, relaxed by it and

paddled on it.  I love it.

Science North - absolutely stunning architecture.

Sudbury’s location central and close to so many

Provincial Parks and Crown Land.

The city  is geographically interesting with its

rapid changes in elevation, its natural areas, its

trees and of course its rock.  All this makes for an

interesting street pattern, a variety of unique neighbourhoods

and a unique feel to the city that I have never experienced in

Southern Ontario with the exception of the city of Hamilton

- another underrated city in terms of rugged beauty.

 

Update

 

After 9 months of living here

 

Concerns  - Remain as above with some additional ones

 

INCO’s continued reduction of its workforce and its

reduced contributions to the tax base.  Sudbury must

diversify to provide long term well paying jobs.

signs that the council has set too many priorities

and is not focused

signs that a development bias may stand in the way

of sound planning for the long term.  The controversy

regarding Dalron’s development near Ramsey L is a good

example.

continued development on the periphery.  There

should be more residential high density development

close to and within the downtown.  Why create more

roads, sewer line etc. that cost up front and involve

ongoing maintenance?

 

Additional Positives

 

the quality and variety of cultural opportunities in

this city.  The arts are alive and well here

the Film Festival was outstanding

we have found that our dream of living an active

outdoor lifestyle in this city has become real.  The

reality is actually better than the dream

in general both my wife and I are very happy that we

have moved to Sudbury.  We feel very comfortable here

this city already is a great place for people, who

can get a good job or are collecting an adequate

pension, to live an active outdoor oriented lifestyle

 

Conclusion

 

I like Sudbury’s chances of meeting the challenges

that lie ahead.  If all the citizens pull together we

can create a city where many people would gladly move

to.  It is really in our hands.  When I drove North on

Regent Street I happened to look both to the left and

then to the right down Lilly Creek Valley.  I saw the

Big Stack and the slag heap and then looking right I

saw Science North.  In a visual way it sums up

Sudbury’s present and suggests its future.  As mining

ultimately declines perhaps the talents and intelligence

of its people characterized by Science North will allow

solutions to emerge that will create a future brighter

than any of us can imagine at the moment. 

 

We cannot imagine moving back to Southern Ontario.