Does It Make Any Sense To Spend Millions of Dollars Developing The South End?

Robert Kirwan
Valley East Today


            One of the issues that will be facing City Council this year is deciding how to fund the south end rock sewer tunnel. The $31 million tunnel will greatly benefit any development in that part of the city, but it comes with a financial obligation of approximately $8000 per projected home that is to be built over the next 40 years. Without the construction of the sewer tunnel, the under capacity of the existing sewer system would restrict, if not prohibit any further development in the south end.

            The project was to have been a joint venture between several levels of government, including the City of Greater Sudbury. Apparently, however, there is an $8 million shortfall due to the fact that the federal government did not come up with it’s one third of the project. This shortfall must be made up from somewhere else.

            All city residents, including those living in Valley East and Capreol are now paying for the City’s share of the tunnel costs through taxes as well as water and sewer levies. Now, it appears as if more of our taxes will be needed to pay for the shortfall unless Council decides to charge developers directly for the full amount of the needed finances. At the present time, Council appears to be prepared to charge developers of residential homes half of the shortfall, or $4000 - $5000 with the rest of the money coming out of the general municipal tax base


            It is the policy of the City of Greater Sudbury to pick up half of the cost of sewer and water upgrades for any given area of the city if it improves services to existing, older homes, as is the case in the south end. In new developments, the developer must bear the full cost of any upgrades. Therefore, the shortfall will have to be made up by existing ratepayers across the city.


            The tunnel will admittedly allow a great deal more residential and commercial development in the south end, however, people living in Valley East are questioning the wisdom of spending money on infrastructure to develop the south end when there already exists sufficient infrastructure in Valley East for that kind of development. Further, if the City decides to enhance the infrastructure of the south end, then why should residents of Valley East have to pay with a portion of their taxes. 

            Proponents of developing the south end say that the entire city will benefit from any expansion of homes and commercial buildings in that area. The increase in the tax base will pay for the investment over time. They also say that the south end is where the demand is. Once again, residents of Valley East beg to differ, and can make a solid argument that the demand is indeed in the ‘North End”, namely in Valley East , and not in the South End at all.


            Another census is about to take place in 2006. One is done every five years. The results of the 2006 census are not expected to be available until around 2008, however, for now all we need to do is examine the long-term census figures from 1971 to 2001 to demonstrate where the real demand is for growth.

            During the period from 1971 to 2001, the population of the entire Greater Sudbury Area fell by over 9%, going from a high of 169,580 to its 2001 level of 153,920.


            During that same period of time, the community of Valley East was governed by al local municipal government. We had our own Mayor and Council and even achieved the status of CITY prior to amalgamation in January 2001. During that time Valley East had a very strong economic development committee and the council actively promoted the community. Therefore, while the entire region was in the midst of losing residents, the town of Valley East experienced an increase in population of 25%. Let me repeat – Valley East increased in size by 25% while the entire region lost 9%. Comparatively, the former City of Sudbury itself saw a drop in population of 15%.

            When we examine the number of households in the region during those same 30 years, we see that there was an overall increase in the number of households of 47%. The town of
Valley East , however, was the only one of the seven original municipalities to experience a triple-digit increase in the number of households. Valley East increased in size by 106%, more than doubling its size. The closest municipality to us was Rayside Balfour which increased its number of households by 71%. The old city of Sudbury went up 37%.


            Let us examine one more piece of data. In 1970, Walden had the highest average household income of all seven municipalities. At that time, Valley East ranked 5th out of seven. Thirty years later, in the year 2000, Walden still held on to first place, but Valley East had climbed into 2nd place, just behind Walden.


Many Valley East residents are claiming that the real demand for growth and development is not in the south end, but rather in Valley East? People who move into the Sudbury area have been attracted to Valley East. There is plenty of space available in the Valley East industrial park. There is plenty of land available for residential expansion. Basically, Valley East has everything, and yet, it appears as if much of the development is being directed to the south end of the city.

            Many people in Valley East are concerned that the city staff and council is trying to artificially manufacture a demand in the south end. It is obvious that Valley East has been the major growth area for the period from 1971 to 2001 and should have been given consideration for development investment. Especially since Valley East has much of the infrastructure already in place. We do not need a rock sewer tunnel.


            With taxes being increased, and services cut, local residents are going to ask some very hard questions about why we should pay even more to develop the south end and help stimulate growth in an area that is developing at a much slower pace than we are experiencing in Valley East. Answers are expected to be forthcoming as we approach the municipal elections in November.



From A fuming Valley Resident:
I truly wish that we could have the services and our projects finished, like we did in the past. I don't want to bring up the amalgamation issue, it's a lost cause. What I would like to see is the same services we had in the past. One of the most important issue is the 4 lane on Regional 80 Hwy 69, this should have been finished a long time a go. Because we the Valley East resident had the money for this project and it was put away in our funds. Now where's the money and is the project finished no, and the longer they wait the more it will cost, look at the Sudbury Regional Hospital. We need this project done now, since Valley East keeps growing and growing and there is more traffic. And they cannot say there is no money, since it was there once and also with the growing population in Valley East of which accumulates more taxpayers money to be collected. Lets get this project going as soon as possible.
And now they want our money for the SouthEnd, well I'm sorry but I did not see them taking money from the South End to help us when our Taxes went up higher then Sudbury to help pay for our additional fireman. I don't understand why the outlying areas like Hanmer, Capreol and others.. get the bad end of the stick. And what really get me is we are paying high taxes for what? Our road are the worst I have seen in my life, you cannot drive fifteen feet anywhere without hitting a large pot hole. And they keep getting city workers to patch these holes now and them and within a few days the hole is back. Just take a drive by the old radar base the road is so bad that you are better off driving your car on the shoulder of the road, at least it doesn't have a million patches. We need a better solution for our roads. One solution that was already brought up by on of our councilors Mr. Rivest, is the extension from Notre-Dame Hanmer to Maley Drive Sudbury. This would cut the traffic on both side and would reduce accidents in McCrea Heights. Our road condition would be better, since we would see less traffic. I know that some will say that it will cost our businesses some money because drivers won't be going through their business sections. I for one shop in the Valley, I don't shop in Sudbury to often, I drive to Sudbury for work. Mr. Rivest keep bugging with  this solution, I am with you 100%.
Life time resident of Hanmer
Monique Grenon
I agree 100%.  Let the Southend take care of it's own.  That's what the Valley has to do!  I for one am tired of hearing how my taxes will be going up; user fees rising, again; my pension remains the same.

Where is your evidence that there is a greater demand for development in the North End than in the South End and, if that is a valid argument, why would Tasse Automobiles Ltd. be relocating in the South End?  Or is that just a rumour? The optics don't add up. Would municipal general rate taxes paid to the city by Tasse in the South End not be equally shared with the North End and the rest of Greater Sudbury as currently?

As a resident and taxpayer in the South End, I would be delighted to see more development in the North End or in any other "end" of the City of Greater Sudbury .   No matter where business or industry seeks to locate in our community, ALL taxpayers benefit.  Divisive arguments to the contrary do not bode well for a community that should be pulling together for the common good of all.

By the way, I continue to fail to understand why  fire protection is an area-rated essential service in Valley East when all ratepayers  share equally on their general rate the essential services of  our city police department.  Similarly, I have no problem if a portion of my water rate will go toward providing water services to Levack.

Robert J. Keir

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