Letter: Greater Sudbury’s democracy at the municipal level is flawed

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The Our Towns-Our City Institute newsletter on December 15, 2021 informed readers that the cost of the Kingsway Entertainment District had risen from $ 60 million to $ 113 million, as noted in a June 2021 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. That’s a 92 percent increase, with no explanation or accountability. Project Junction grew from $ 47 million to $ 115 million, an increase of 145 percent.

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More than 50 studies have been carried out by international bodies on five continents and 20 countries to determine the causes of public works cost overruns, all pointing the reader in the same direction. The Journal of the American Planning Association published a report based on a statistical analysis of a large database of 258 projects worth US $ 90 billion, with overruns ranging from 25 to 50 percent. He concluded: “The underestimation of costs cannot be explained by error and seems to be best explained by strategic misrepresentation, i.e. lying. “

He also concluded that “the key political implication for this large and very expensive area of ​​public policy is that lawmakers, administrators, bankers, media representatives and members of the public who value honest numbers should not trust the estimates of costs presented by infrastructure developers. and forecasters.

While the above findings do not prove that the same happened for the KED and Junction projects, they do provide sufficient evidence for Sudbury taxpayers to demand full and open accounting of the cost increases of these projects, especially given the magnitude of the increases.

How – and why – it escaped the attention of Greater Sudbury city councilors is a question more closely related to the electoral process.

The Our Cities-Our City Institute continues to exchange information:

Info 1: Most Canadian electoral processes are based on first-party voting. It ignores the popular Canadian belief of what democracy is. The Greater Sudbury electoral process used to elect a city council is not based on the professional qualifications or the preference of a majority of eligible voters.

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The shortcomings are demonstrated by the post of mayor. The 2014 first-party candidate (Brian Bigger) was elected mayor with the support of 23% of eligible voters. In 2018, the same candidate was elected mayor with the support of 13% of eligible voters. A 1.6% drop in eligible voters should have increased that level of support, but instead 46% of 2014 support evaporated, but the same candidate returned as mayor. How? ‘Or’ What? The vote was split between 11 candidates.

Likewise, none of the candidates elected for councilor was supported by more than 33% of eligible voters. Majority-based democracy does not exist in Greater Sudbury.

Thomas Price

Our Cities-Our City Institute

White fish

Melissa C. Keyes