Sudbury mayor, BIA pushing for new downtown master plan
Bigger says divisive politics, criticism have not helped downtown realize its potential
During his inauguration address to city council Tuesday night, Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger said the city's downtown needs a "new direction."
Bigger said he's responding to suggestions from downtown merchants who are searching for solutions to problems— like scarce parking, crime, and visible signs of drug use— plaguing the downtown core.
"The [downtown Business Improvement Association] owners and members I'm speaking with tell me they want to see community and business improvement ideas and initiatives," Bigger said in his address.
"Not political action and pettiness that is divisive, counterproductive and has done so much damage to our downtown and our community."
But Jeff MacIntyre, chair of the downtown Sudbury BIA, said the investment Bigger is hoping for will only come if developers are confident the city will back any master plan, something he said didn't happen with the last one.
"The city put together a master plan," MacIntyre said. "Developers expected that master plan to go forward. We had developers in the downtown, around the downtown. Around Ramsey Lake that were actioning their private developments until the city pulled the brakes and changed [it.]"
MacIntyre added that the time is right for a new plan.
"New focus always has to happen," he said. "Regardless of what happens with the big projects a lot of what was in that master plan has been moved forward on, and the shape of downtown has changed since that plan was put together."
"You always need a new plan every 5 to 10 years, and we're already at that expiry date."
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story quoted Mayor Bigger as saying that Amin Visram offered storefront in the Rainbow Centre for police to use. A representative from Vista Sudbury Hotel told CBC News there is currently no such space being used by Greater Sudbury Police.