Sudbury mayor wants the northern Ontario city to be a leader in the green economy

Sudbury, Ont. Mayor Paul Lefebvre had his first state of the city address Wednesday, in which he talked about how the city can play a greater role in the green economy.

Sudbury Mayor Paul Lefebvre says he wants at least 3,000 new homes to accommodate growth

A man in a suit standing at a podium.
Sudbury Mayor Paul Lefebvre gave his first state of the city address at the Radisson Hotel on Wednesday, April 26. (Felix Hallée-Theoret/Radio-Canada)

In his first state of the city address Wednesday afternoon, Sudbury Mayor Paul Lefebvre said the northern Ontario city needs to be at the centre of Canada's transition to a greener economy.

"As Canada and indeed the world moves towards net zero and low carbon industries, greater electrification of vehicles and more digital and innovative technologies, we as a city really can help," Lefebvre told a sold out crowd at the Radisson Hotel in Sudbury.

While Sudbury has been a nickel and copper mining centre for more than 100 years, Lefebvre said the city needs to transition to be part of the value-added supply chain for electric vehicle batteries.

I will support the sustainable expansion and servicing of our industrial lands so that we can be a leader in a green economy and battery electric vehicles.- Sudbury Mayor Paul Lefebvre

"In the next decade, the mining industry, through its service and supply business sector, is projected to continue on a growth trajectory the scale of which you have not seen in a generation," he said.

Lefebvre said he sees the potential for an additional 500,000 square feet for industrial buildings to bring in new businesses and jobs that can be part of the battery supply chain.

"I will support the sustainable expansion and servicing of our industrial lands so that we can be a leader in a green economy and battery electric vehicles," he added.

To accommodate that growth, he said the city will also need to grow its population and supply of affordable housing.

He noted the federal government's Rural and Northern Immigration pilot program helped 265 newcomers to the city apply for permanent residency.

"I want to increase that number to 500," he said.

On housing, he said the city can help with planning, zoning and permits to encourage developers to build more homes.

"Based on the numbers we have seen and the anticipated growth, it is reasonable to conclude that the market will build between 2,000 and 2,500 units in Sudbury within the next five years," he said.

"My thoughts are always going to be more. I want to get us to 3,000 or 3,500."

To help attract newcomers Lefebvre said a city should have a "healthy and vibrant" downtown.

"I am in favour of an art gallery, library and an event centre in our downtown," he said.

"We remain committed to review the options to achieve the goals of these projects in a fiscally responsible manner."