At a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting, Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Debbie Amaroso says that she believes it will take ten years for the city's economy to fully recover from a decade of recession. She envisions the city's population to be 90,000 in 2024, and she also sees our city better off financially. Yes, good for her for giving an optimistic answer. Unfortunately, there's a problem here: She's been mayor for four years already, since 2010, and not much has changed in the Sault. Any jobs we've gotten have been short-term construction jobs. And then, she expects us to wait another few years to see any improvement? We want jobs NOW, not in a decade, not in HALF a decade. Now.
Of course, I'll repeat the argument I have made many, many, many times on this website, I'm starting to become repetitive. But what I say is 100% the truth. The provincial and federal governments, they're the ones who bring the construction jobs to the Sault. They've done so much, new hospital, new schools, the feds are giving us a $50 million bridge plaza. But it's up to the local EDC to lure businesses to our city. The "Economic Development" Corportation. The goal is to DEVELOP THE ECONOMY. And they're failing miserably. Ooooh, a PetSmart and oooooh, an H&M in the Station Mall. Big deal. (Sarcasm.) The Municipal government is responsible for bringing jobs to Sault Ste. Marie, and I know that since the Mayor's inauguration in 2010, the unemployment rate in this city is still quite high. I bet that not even a thousand jobs have been created since she took office. That record isn't something a politician should be proud of.
We need a Mayor and a City Council that works tirelessly to promote this City. We need a local government that advocates Sault Ste. Marie to businesses. Like Target. Costco. Ikea. Toys R Us. Big department stores. Restaurant chains. Any retail store. We need industrial jobs. Councillor Steve Butland, I respect him greatly, Elementa brings jobs to the Sault. He has advocated for this, and this is what every Councillor should be doing. Making phone calls, emailing companies. Heck, I'm not even a City Councillor and I've been in touch with Giant Tiger, suggesting that they buy the old Liquidation World on Trunk Road.
When a Councillor or a mayor or anyone who works in City Hall can't bring progress to a city, they ought to be fired! They ought to be canned. Thrown out of office. The people of this city threw three incumbent Councillors out in 2010, hoping that new blood would be what the Sault needs. Well, the new blood that the citizens of this city elected, there seems to have been no change. None. We are where we were in 2000. 2005. 2010. 2015, if we elect the same old people, then Sault Ste. Marie will, for another four years, continue to shrivel up much like Elliot Lake did. This is not Elliot Lake. This is a city on the border with the United States. This is a city with 75,000 people. A city with a geographic advantage. We could have a good pitch for tourists to come, but we're not investing in anything that could draw tourists here. We have a market for Target, a department store that will create over 100 jobs, and they've settled in North Bay, a city of less than 60,000.
The EDC isn't doing enough. The mayor isn't doing enough. MOST (not all) Councillors are not doing enough. It's time to elect some good, new, young, energized people to represent you. In October, vote for someone who will bring jobs to the Sault NOW. Who will advocate with PASSION to bring us those jobs. Elect Councillors who will make the Sault a better place. Pull us out of the recession we've been in for YEARS. We don't have ten years to turn the economy around. Let's take the first step to a real recovery when we vote in October.
About The Author
Matthew Frank Kot was born and raised here in Sault Ste Marie. He first starting writing articles for Soonews.ca in early 2008, becoming the city's youngest columnist and journalist. He then went on to write for Local2, and for a short time had his "MATTer of Opinion" column on SaultOnline.com. Matthew was very involved in the 2010 and 2014 Municipal Elections and wrote several opinion pieces about important issues. In 2011, Matthew started Sault Transit Reform and has continued advocating for a better transit system since then.