DEVELOPMENT OF DOWNTOWN SECTORS
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Ever since amalgamation took place on January 1, 2001, it seems
as if the movement to develop and improve Downtown Sudbury has
taken on a new life.
Prior to amalgamation, the six outlying communities could care
less about Downtown Sudbury. They were more interested in
developing 'Downtown Capreol', 'Downtown Lively', 'Downtown
Chelmsford', and, yes, 'Downtown Valley East'.
When we were governed by Regional Government and had our own
Town Council, efforts were made to develop the commercial area
of Val Caron which at one time seemed destined to take on the
distinction of being called “downtown” Valley East.
even had our own Economic Development Committee.
After amalgamation, however, all efforts to promote development
in Val Caron and indeed, in all of Valley East, were left up to
the forces of nature. In other words - it was the marketplace
which would determine where development will happen.
There are some very vocal lobby groups, including the City of
Greater Sudbury, spending a lot of money and energy trying to
convince everyone who will listen of the value of a strong
downtown core. The Downtown Businesses have initiated a Business
Improvement Plan whereby they pay extra tax dollars to enhance
the downtown core. They are to be commended by that commitment
and should be allowed to do whatever they can to promote their
People in Valley East do not completely disagree
with all of the rhetoric about the importance of a strong
downtown core in the City of Greater Sudbury; however, there are several major
issues to which many local residents take exception.
VALLEY EAST HAS ITS OWN CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL
For example, it has been argued that downtown Sudbury is the
city's historical, cultural and spiritual centre. That may be
the case for "Old Sudbury", but it is not the case in each of
the outlying communities, many of which can also lay the same
There is a proud tradition in Valley East, which celebrated its
Centennial recently. Valley East, and more specifically, each of
the smaller components of Valley East, namely, Val Caron,
Blezard Valley, McCrea Heights, Guiletteville, Val Therese, and
Hanmer, each have their own "historic and cultural" centres.
Long-time residents of these communities are wondering why
downtown Sudbury should receive any more consideration than
The history of the outlying communities is just
as strong and the heritage means just as much.
So while downtown Sudbury may have been the core of the former
city of Sudbury prior to amalgamation, just because all of the
outlying towns were amalgamated into one large City of Greater
Sudbury, Valley East did not all of a sudden lose its tradion
and cultural nor its history. The "downtown" sections of Valley
East did not all of a sudden fall off the map. In fact, since
2001, so much effort has been made by our leaders to focus on
the development of the "downtown" of old Sudbury, that the
outlying "downtowns" have been neglected. That will stop once I
am elected to represent Ward 5.
A great deal has been invested in developing the core areas of
Valley East. In fact, just as much has been invested in these
areas as in Sudbury. It makes no sense to simply abandon the
momentum which had been growing up until amalgamation.
Residents of Valley East are wondering when our local leadership
will accept the fact that society has changed. People no longer
want to live downtown. Valley East is the fastest growing segment
of the City of Greater Sudbury. Retail growth is on the
outskirts, around shopping centres where there is free parking
and it is easier to get around. Downtown Sudbury may be fine for
government offices and small retail stores, but the general
public has spoken. They would rather live far away from the
downtown Sudbury core, and they would rather shop far away from
the downtown Sudbury core.
They do not want to drive and
fight for parking in downtown Sudbury.
Downtown Sudbury will survive if left on its own. There are a
lot of offices located in the downtown section. It will do fine,
but it certainly does not deserve the attention it is getting
from the City officials.
If the City of Greater Sudbury is going to grow and prosper in
future decades, then we must help places like Valley East,
Capreol, Rayside Balfour, Walden, and Nickel Centre develop
their own distinguishable sense of identity. People coming in to
the area accept these as separate communities. They want to live
in these separate and distinct communities.
Candidates running in Wards that are contained in the outlying
communities, such as Wards 5, 6 and 7, will have to show
constituents that they are going to support and initiate efforts
which will be designed to promote more than just downtown
Sudbury. They are going to have to convince voters that downtown
Valley East and downtown Capreol will also be given a high
priority in the next three years.
This is not a matter of people in Valley East failing to
accept amalgamation. It is about a proud community wanting to
hang on to the traditions that were so instrumental in making
the region of Sudbury so strong in the first place. It makes
more sense to have solid, developing "downtowns" in all of the
outlying communities in order to make the entire City of Greater
Sudbury stronger and more viable. Our community has definitely
changed since 2001, but we are not dead. We need a
representative on Council who is going to fight for the revival
of Valley East, not its continued assimilation into "old
Sudbury". A stronger Valley East will make the entire City of
Greater Sudbury that much better. We don't need to be reborn. We
just need to get up off the ground and keep on running in the
VALLEY EAST HAS TWO MAIN DOWNTOWNS
From the Google Earth image below you can see that Valley
East has what we would consider to be two downtown regions. The
Power Centre at the corner of Regional Road 80 and Elmview Drive
is the location for a number of community activities as well as
the location of one of the largest indoor malls in the City of
Greater Sudbury, the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre. More
businesses are developing in this part of the community,
including a new McDonalds Restaurant, a new St. Louis Bar and
Grill and in the near future we exptect to see a new hotel built
in this area.
The Second downtown is in Val Caron, which contains the
largest and longest concentration of businesses in the community
and which at one time was considered as downtown Valley East.