URBAN MATTERS: Downtown Plaza; City Auditor Needed!


The City of Sudbury has installed an “Office of the Auditor General” for the explicate reason to ensure “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”.

When Mr. Tom Vair, Deputy CAO/ EDC Manager approached the Federal and Provincial Government for funding assistance with the building of this Plaza; the answer was not just NO, it was we do not believe this is “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”.

Many citizens voiced their concerns that this Plaza was a duplication of services with the understanding that everything in that Plaza is done better somewhere else in the City with better facilities.  What they were really asking is this good “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”?

There was not one person in this City opposed to a small Green Park in that space with trees, grass, amphitheatre, playground equipment, benches, bathroom, etc. at a reasonable cost.  When concerns were raised about the scope and cost of the project one Councillor  labelled these citizens as “naysayers”!  It turns out there was not one single “naysayer” in this City; what they were trying to say is this good “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”?

Questions, after questions arose from moving a Mill Market from the Canal District with well over 100 dedicated, convenient, accessible and available parking spots to a Plaza location with no parking; the question comes up is this good “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”?

Mr. Vair raided out many, many budget line items including gas tax funds, Community Improvement Funds for the next four years, hospitality tax revenue funds, using up almost all possible funding for this Plaza.  Meanwhile many other existing facilities are not maintained and or finished.  The Hub Trail a very successful and well used recreational facility is still not finished.  Almost all Parks in the City need updating and or work to be completed.  You name the recreational or cultural facility and it needs money.  So again this concept of spending so much money on one project while there are so many other existing needs begs the question is this good “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”?

This Plaza project is one third completed and Mr. Vair has on numerous occasions raised the cost of the project.  We also know that further items are being removed from the scope of the job and City Works Staff are now being tasked for doing some of the work?   With all the cost increases and cut backs is this project really worth $11 million.  Are we really getting good “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”?

We are now told that after years into this project we are again paying more money to Brooks for additional design fees to a total of $900,000.  For this little Plaza with a washroom we are paying almost a million dollars in Architectural and Design Fees – which begs the question, is this good “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”?

Mr. Tom Vair, Dep. CAO, a senior manager of this City, is the Project Manager of this Plaza project.   Mr. Vair was never interested in compromising on the scope of the project.  Mr. Vair although aware of the construction challenges in the community still went ahead with the project.  The project is one third complete and its cost have overrun numerous times.  The cost overages are very questionable as there was little or no activity on the Plaza Construction site for many months in 2022.  Mr. Vair does not want to take any of the responsibilities for this financial mess; he wants the Taxpayer of Sault Ste. Marie to pay for it.  So based on the Project Management of this Plaza, by Mr. Tom Vair, did we get “Value for Taxpayer Money Spent”?

What this Plaza project clearly demonstrates the need to install an office of the Auditor General for the City of Sault Ste. Marie to examine this Plaza’s Project Management and expenditures.

All the citizens of this City have every wanted was “Value for THEIR TAX Money Spent”!



  1. Zinger….I am not sure how I am the problem…I am totally against this plaza…but realistic…this plaza is going to be built…and unfortunately they are probably going to get the monies they need for the overhead by raising our taxes…are they going to stop building this plaza now…highly unlikely…😡😡

  2. Unfortunately this Provenzano Plaza is going to be built on our raised city taxes…there is no question …there are in it to deep already…but going forward we can only hope that this new Mayor who I voted for will never let anything STUPID like this ever happen again😡😡

  3. It is sad when I have been living in the same place for 21 years my property taxes have went up a lot in the last 21 years and yet I still live on one of the worst streets with major infrastructure problems in the city. The last raise must be still covering cost for gore st waste of money and our past and some present city councillors neighborhood restorations.

  4. WOW…BANG ON…there are many taxpayers that will agree with you 100 percent.
    The problem now is how to best fix a total mess down there. Do we continue with the project knowing full well that taxpayers will be asked for more money? Do we cut our losses and turn the area into a small green area as outlined by Mr. Menean?
    It is absolutely ridiculous to be moving the mill market to this new venture without providing adequate parking. Leave it where it is… refurbish it…it is in an ideal spot now.
    An audit by an outside firm is really needed for all city department expenses.

  5. Like I have been saying for a looooonggg time amd not just for this plaza. Our city gets money from provincial and federal governments for certain things like infrastructure, where has that money gone? Definitely not towards what it was meant for. Our city needs to be audited for past 20 years. Our transit and public works was allocated together and all of the funding they received for transit you would be lucky that 20% of it was spent on transit. They are no longer grouped as one after they used all of that money on other things then what it was meant for. I am not kidding. My grandfather who has been gone now for five years had even said back in the 90s this city needed to be audited. I can guarantee you if an auditor goes through everything we will see the truth behind everything.

  6. This “office of the Auditor General for the City of Sault Ste. Marie” sounds good. But unless you have been living in Disney Land for the last 50 years you know how this will go. This person will be hired by the city and they will eventually decide that the city did a bag up job, yay city. The pain is not over here folks because when they announce this white elephant ready to open it will still need a lot more funds to finish the project. Because what they are cutting now to improve the projects bottom line will be added latter when no one is looking. What we didn’t spec a toilet paper holder?

  7. Perhaps with the additional funds that will be going to the city police force they will have the capacity to investigate ties and interactions between Mr. Vair and suppliers for the plaza project.

    Highly unlikely since the police are hoping their payoff for looking the other way will be a new building.

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