My name is Eric Benoit and I have lived in the town of Lively since 1997. I with my wife at Lively District Secondary School and we are raising our four children in this community. I believe we have an amazing community and the potential for a truly greater city of Sudbury.
Q: Why are you running?
A: I am running because I want to ensure the community my children grow up in is even more amazing than the one I had the honor of growing up in.
I have seen this community’s willingness to fight and I have seen the tremendous compassion the people here have as they have rallied to help those in need. I believe that by working with other members of council and with members of the public I can help get the people of Ward 2 what they deserve.
Q: What unique qualities can you bring to council chambers (background, expertise, experiences)?
A: With a background in law enforcement, real estate and technology I have some insight into ways we can leverage technology and community partnerships to help solve the issues we face. I have studied urban planning, public financing, statistical analysis and large project planning to help prepare for the role.
Q: Which city issues are top of mind for you?
A: Greater Sudbury has long been facing issues and the pandemic increased the strain on public resources. All levels of government need to work together to face the issues affecting our society. Two of the most pressing issues are the lack of affordable housing and the opioid epidemic. These issues put the lives of members of our communities at risk and they need to be addressed quickly.
Q: What is your position on the Junction East project, considering its most recent price projection of about $98 million?
A: The Junction projects seem not to be very popular; however, there is some merit to them. I do want to clarify that while I agree with the purpose of the Junction I don’t agree with how the project has been approached.
The great cities of the world feature fantastic libraries and arts centers. Our current libraries, museums and performing arts centers lack in function, efficiency and sustainability. The Junction looks to help resolve those issues.
The city choosing to fund projects by just throwing tax money at them is not the solution. For large municipal projects, the funds should come from finding efficiencies and leveraging existing assets. Coupled with partnering with other levels of government and private enterprises, it can help reduce the burden on the taxpayer.
Q: Talk a little about your ward and the priorities in your area.
A: Ward 2 is a large and diverse ward that features stunning lakes, trails and several amazing communities from Beaver Lake to Copper Cliff, and all the fantastic people in between. The most pressing issues facing Ward 2 include the following: what will happen with the money from the sale of Meatbird Lake; revitalizing our lakes; the potential loss of the Italian Club in Copper Cliff; the disparity in essential services between the city core and the rural areas; and as always, crumbling roads and infrastructure.
What I hear constantly is how amalgamation led to constantly growing tax bills, combined with the removal of services and the deterioration of our roads and infrastructure. These issues need to be addressed but they cannot be addressed without the help of others on council.
Q: The municipality still needs a new arena to replace the 70-year-old barn on Elgin Street. How should city hall proceed?
A: It seems like this issue has been dragging on forever, and that is because it has; however, we now find ourselves in a position where the council must wait to see what happens with the parties involved with the Kingsway Entertainment District. Should they decide to build an arena without public funds, then that is an option that should be considered. If they do not choose to proceed, then the city should re-evaluate the Junction project to see if it is possible to integrate a new arena into the project while minimizing any increased cost.
My concern with renovating the arena is how long a renovated arena will be viable. It does not make sense to make an investment in fixing the arena only to have to repeat the process in five to 10 years.
Q: Please tell us about someone who inspires you.
A: The person who inspires me has faced incredible personal tragedy yet they endeavor to make the world around them a better place. They may sometimes need help and encouragement, but they meet every challenge and endure. This person makes me want to do my part to help lift some of that burden, and to help as many people as I can.
Ward 2 candidates
Names: Eric Benoit
Email: [email protected]
Names: Michael Anthony Vagnini
Email: [email protected]