City can do more to protect environment Sudbury mayoral candidates say
Event hosted by Coalition for Liveable Sudbury, reThink Green, Citizens Climate Lobby Canada
Seven of the 11 mayoral candidates running in Greater Sudbury spent much of their time agreeing with each other Wednesday night.
They participated in the Good Green Town Hall, hosted by environmental organizations, the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, reThink Green, and Citizens Climate Lobby Canada. The event was held at St. Andrew's Place in downtown Sudbury.
On hand for the debate-style town hall were candidates Cody Cacciotti, Bill Crumplin, Jeff Huska, Dan Melanson, Patricia Mills, David Popescu and Bill Sanders.
Incumbent mayor Brian Bigger was originally scheduled to attend but had to withdraw due to other commitments.
Also absent from the debate were Troy Crowder, Ron LeClair and Rodney Newton.
Around 100 people were in the audience.
Nearly all the candidates at the event said they'd push for the city to adopt policies to improve the environment and reduce waste.
Promoting carpooling in the city's suburbs and outlying areas was also a popular topic.
"I believe our city should partner with local businesses and promote [carpooling], reward people for driving together," Huska said.
"We should implement parking lots in the outlying areas and let people park for free. That way you'd be encouraging and promoting better use of our vehicles," he added.
Cacciotti agreed, adding that he'd push to make Greater Sudbury more friendly for cyclists and public transit users, with a wider goal of helping revitalize the downtown core.
"We need to start looking at the future in terms of electric cars and buses," Mills said. "Let's start a trial, see what happens, and go on from there."
Huska said he believes the city should demand school boards do more to reduce bus traffic and emissions. He also mentioned electric vehicles as a potential solution.
Crumplin, who ran for the Green Party in the June provincial election, agreed these were all good ideas, but suggested the city should begin directing private developers to better serve the community's needs.
"It makes no sense to keep developing on the fringes of our city," Crumplin said.
"If somebody wants to build a development, you tell them you can build a convenience store here, you can build a library here. We need to work with the developers in a way that's mutually beneficial," he added.
Sanders noted he believes de-amalgamation is part of the answer.
"That way we can promote more local communities and local strategies."
Popescu, who has regularly run as an independent in all municipal, provincial and federal elections over the past few years, repeated his belief that most of the city's problems are directly attributable to a general lack of respect for God.
Safe injection sites, social housing discussed
Huska says he feels the city should explore a safe injection site.
Mills thought the city would "need to foster a better working relationship with our province and our health ministry" to deal with drugs and addiction.
Crumplin agreed with his fellow candidates that the province has backed away from its responsibilities.
At the Good Green Town Hall debate. Lots of people in the crowd. Best wishes to all candidates who are working hard to earn your vote. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sudbury?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Sudbury</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/young11?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#young11</a> <a href="https://t.co/YSct7BNOHW">pic.twitter.com/YSct7BNOHW</a>—@youngforward11
"I'm not an expert in addictions, but I read what they write, and I understand [a safe injection site] is the best first step in helping people with their addictions. It will help save lives," Crumplin said.
When it comes to social housing, Sanders said he'd listen and trust the city's social planning council.
Crumplin added developers should receive incentives to build more affordable housing.
Huska said a flat percentage of the fees developers pay to the city "should be taken and utilized to solve the housing issues we have. That way you'd always have a steady stream of income coming in."
Salt on winter roads
In response to a question from an audience member, most of the candidates at the event said they'd take a hard look at how much salt is used on winter roads.
"If we can use a higher sand than salt content. If we can mitigate salt use around watershed streets to begin with, that's a good start," Cacciotti said.
"I'd work with our roads department to see what we can come up with, including natural solutions like beet juice," he added.
Melanson said he'd create a water commission, to develop one-stop shopping for the protection of the wild spaces around the watersheds.
Crumplin added that he is encouraged by articles he's read of other communities using wood chips instead of salt on winter roads.
Candidates also spoke about promoting local food sources and agriculture.
"I think we need to be more proactive to make it attractive for people to be in the farming business, perhaps through tax incentives or reductions," Melanson said.
Cacciotti, Crumplin, Huska, Melanson, Mills, and Sanders all said they'd support a motion to ban plastic straws in the city.
The municipal election is scheduled for Monday, October 22.