Letting Our Belt Out

Yesterday, along with many Minnow Lake residents, I attended a community information meeting at Adamsdale Playground about the city’s plan to widen Second Avenue to five lanes from Donna Drive at the big-box centre to Kenwood Avenue.

The cost of this project is a staggering $5 million and will be completed, all but the final paving, at the end of this year. According to a city official, “the plan is not apt to change significantly at this point”, which begs my first two questions, why have a meeting at all then? Are residents’ concerns listened to but not heeded?

I have a number of concerns and questions. Here goes:

  •  Is Second Avenue really THAT busy? Perhaps I am not travelling at the right time of day, but I have never had a problem negotiating Second Avenue, nor have I ever witnessed a bumper-to-bumper situation.
  •  City officials are considering this rebuild as a ‘traffic alternative for the Kingsway’. Really? Do we want a Kingsway running through this neighbourhood?
  • Would 3 lanes not be sufficient, one in each direction with a turning lane, dedicated and safe bike lanes and sidewalks, all the way down Second Avenue to Bancroft Dr. Surely, it would be more economical. It would also prevent this neighbourhood from becoming a major traffic corridor and provide traffic calming that everyone is hankering for. Does a 5-lane road encourage speeding?
  • Doesn’t it make sense to connect new bike lanes on Second Avenue right through to the existing bike lanes on Bancroft Drive in order to create a safe cycling network in this area? Shouldn’t we be connecting bike lanes in all neighbourhoods wherever possible, to ensure safe and healthful transportation, as well as recreational opportunities?
  •  Yes, I agree that the entrance to the cemetery needs to be re-engineered with Scarlett Drive, complete with traffic lights. This makes sense as the cemetery, the dog park and the mall all converge at this point.
  •  I also agree that proper (and long) turning lanes are necessary into the Power Centre.
  •  But what about the proposed seniors’ residence that is being discussed beside Ellero? Will seniors have to negotiate 5 lanes of traffic to cross Second Avenue in order to access the Power Centre?
  •  Will traffic lights ensure a safe crossing time?
  •  Will the new drainage system alleviate the flooding/wet problems at Adamsdale public school and at the dog park?
  •  Will the city be working this project round the clock and under lights to ensure the least amount of business loss for local merchants, as well as disruption for residents?

As a lifelong Sudburian, I understand that Sudbury is a city of cars. We will never have a compact city that is totally walkable. However, I would like to see us move with sensitivity to people, not just to cars, towards keeping our neighbourhoods from becoming massive traffic corridors. We can do this by using long-term vision, by examining the ‘best practices’ of other cities in Ontario, by building a city that is child and senior-friendly, by accommodating cyclists who ride for recreation, health and transportation and by promoting more and better transit use.

“Adding lanes to solve traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to solve obesity”.– Glen Hemistra, Renowned Futurist

Please share your thoughts with me at:

 lynne@lynnereynolds.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ON ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY

I completely agree with the Sudbury Star’s editorial today on the new Accountability Act which will be in development for quite some time.

That does not, however, prevent municipal councils in need of such legislation from setting their own accountability policy or enacting a set a measures that will guarantee their citizens accountability and transparency from both their council and staff.

It was a municipal issue ten years ago:

“Councillor Lynne Reynolds said in her statement to council ‘that the taxpayers of the City of Greater Sudbury deserve the absolute and utmost in transparency, responsibility and accountability’.”- Sudbury Star -2004

And it’s still an issue today. When such issues are not energetically addressed, they tend to fester.

We need new and clear accountability policy, along with weighty consequences, to restore our citizens’ waning confidence and trust in the city’s governance and administration. We need to get on with the task of building our city. Otherwise, it will be most challenging to restore faith in our council and in our city operations who will be making the decisions about the many challenges that face us.

Why do we need to wait for Toronto to accomplish this? It could be enacted now by our own Council until Mr. Marin receives his new oversight duties.

NEW SECURITY MEASURES AT TDS

I feel so strongly about this Sudbury Star story this morning that I needed to communicate with you how this story reflects so many practices that are questionable at city hall.

Here are my questions that I hope will be pursued on this story:

  1. Why is a bureaucrat, not an elected official, making this kind of announcement to the public?

  2. Who does he report to? Who is his boss? Where is his boss in this news story?

  3. Was this an existing position? If so, I never heard of it. When was it created? If not, where is the discussion at the Council table on creating a new management position? Was a decision made in camera? Did a bureaucrat at City Hall unilaterally create a new management position without bringing it up for discussion at Council?

  4. What is his job description? What is his salary? How many persons does he supervise? What does his department cost us annually? Do we really need such a position?

  5. Why does he want to create “barriers between citizens and staff”? Shouldn’t we be doing the exact opposite? Isn’t this one of the big problems we already have at City Hall? Shouldn’t our goal here be to BREAK DOWN the barriers that currently exist between citizens and staff? Worse, was this what he was instructed to do by his superiors?

  6. His “knives” statement is most offensive. This statement from a bureaucrat is unacceptable and is the reason why bureaucrats should never speak on behalf of the city. Only elected officials should do so (at their own peril). When will this policy be enacted? No other level of government lets its staff speak out on important matters, unless they are directed to do so by their political master. Where does this disdain for our citizens originate and how did it become a prerequisite for promotion?

  7. Once media is accredited, why should they have to sign in? Really.

  8. If the national media picks up this story, will it have a further deleterious effect on our reputation?

We need direct answers to these questions from duly elected officials. Let’s hope we get some in the following days.

Nothing personal against this poor fellow. I fear he was a sacrificial lamb sent to bear unappetizing news to the public. But someone must be held accountable at City Hall. Who will it be?

This story needs a strong follow-up. It goes to the very root of some of the challenges that need to be addressed at City Hall.

ABOUT THE REFERENDUM

Since announcing my candidacy, I have been asked several times by constituents what my position is on the store hours referendum.

I am pleased that the people of Sudbury will finally have their say on this contentious issue.

On October 27th, this matter will be decided by citizens at the ballot box. It will not be coming to the next Council for debate or a vote. Your opinion will be final and the opinion of candidates will be a personal choice at the ballot box, just like yours.

In order for candidates to support or oppose this question publicly, they must be registered as lobbyists at the city. It’s the law. I have chosen not to register as a lobbyist on this issue. Let the people decide and democracy rule.

IT’S OFFICIAL!

I filed my papers in the Clerk’s office this morning at  9:35 a.m.

It feels good to be back at City Hall!

I was warmly greeted by several staff people and wished good luck.

Now that I’m “official”, I am looking forward to hitting the “hustings” and meeting as many constituents as I can to discuss their concerns and their ideas about our city.

See you on the campaign trail!

If you want to comment on my candidacy or offer your support, email me at lynne@lynnereynolds.ca

Lynne Reynolds Seeking Council seat in Ward 11

Lynne Reynolds, former City Councillor for Ward 6, is seeking the seat in Ward 11 in the upcoming municipal election.

Reynolds was well-known for her vocal support of transparency and accountability during that council term and her no-nonsense issue management skills.

“I am pleased to be bringing my council experience back to the table and I am looking forward to representing the citizens of Ward 11 again. There is much work to be done in many areas, not the least of which is to re-inspire our citizens and create confidence in this new Council so we can move ahead with assurance that our tax dollars are being spent in the most important areas, in the most efficient ways. I believe that experience will count in this new term of Council.

“Furthermore, I feel that we are not getting full value for our tax dollars, that there are many efficiencies to be had and that policy needs to be renewed to keep both our council and our executive staff accountable and very seriously responsible for taxpayer dollars.

“I am in favour of a permanent Auditor-General’s office, the immediate termination of the council’s slush funds, the no-nonsense provision of essential services,  the re-hiring of the Ontario Ombudsman and a top-to-bottom review of how our city is managed, with particular attention to the budget process. In short, I intend to work to help create an attractive and affordable city.

“Cities are where people live, work and raise families. This implies job creation through smart economic development, good livable, well-developed neighbourhoods and adequate healthy quality of life for all.  I will continue to champion smart development, economic vitality and a standard of excellence in all we do.

“I was very proud to serve the citizens of Ward 6, and am looking forward to serving them and the whole City of Greater Sudbury again in the upcoming term.”

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