RE-ELECT

CHRISTIAN PROVENZANO

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When I ran for Mayor in 2014, my campaign had three key themes: Leadership, Accountability and Responsible Spending.  I have worked hard to live up to these values, to serve you and to serve our community.

 

It has been a challenging Council term.  We have faced uncertainty about OLG’s modernization process, the downturn in oil prices that shut-down Tenaris, and the CCAA process that threatened Algoma and the City’s finances.  Today, OLG has committed to keeping Sault Ste. Marie as its corporate headquarters and maintaining staffing levels here, Tenaris has resumed full operations, and Algoma is on the cusp of leaving bankruptcy protection and moving towards a more stable future. Together, City Council and the community have managed through significant challenges and the uncertainty that came with them. More importantly, we have kept our eye on our future while doing so.

 

I have said since the outset that we need to transition from maintaining the city that we have to building the city that we want.  We started that process through our new community plan: FutureSSM.  I committed to the citizens and community leaders that participated in developing the plan that I would ensure the City acted on it and we are.

 

Through all the challenges, I have woken up every day glad to have the privilege to work for you and to work for our community. Keep reading to see the highlights of what we’ve been able to accomplish this term and what I plan to focus on if I am afforded the privilege to continue serving as your Mayor.

About Christian

Christian was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie. He attended St. Mary's College high school and then proceeded to earn his Bachelor of Art (Honours) at the University of Waterloo and his Bachelor of Laws at Dalhousie University.  Christian completed his bar administration course with the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2002 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2003.  He owns, operates and practices at Provenzano Law/Advocates & Advisors in downtown Sault Ste. Marie he has recently completed his Masters of Law at Osgoode Hall Professional Development.

 

Christian's most gratifying accomplishments to date are rooted in public service - committing his time, energy and skills to worthwhile organizations and causes where he can help make a real, positive difference in both his community and the lives of others. Christian has volunteered his time and expertise with groups such as:

 

  • Habitat for Humanity Sault Ste. Marie;
  • United Way Fundraising Cabinet;
  • Big Brothers of Sault Ste. Marie;
  • Children's Rehabilitation Centre Algoma (now Thrive);
  • Sault Youth Association;
  • Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie;
  • Soo Pee Wee;
  • Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce;
  • St. Vincent Place.

 

As Vice - Chair of the Algoma Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, Christian was proud to assist in an effort that has improved health care services in Sault Ste. Marie.

 

Christian has served as the Mayor of the City of Sault Ste. Marie since 2014.  Since his election as Mayor, he has also served as a director of PUC Inc., PUC Services Inc., PUC Distribution Inc., a commissioner on the PUC and as a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Board.

 

Christian and his wife Kyleigh have two daughters, Isla and Chloe.

Accomplishments (2014-2018)

Leadership

Leadership takes many forms and it has been an honour to represent our city and our citizens these past four years. From working to promote the importance of reconciliation, to supporting our major employers in times of trouble, to pitching our city as the natural home for a major new industrial development, I’ve worked hard to provide leadership that will help move Sault Ste. Marie forward.

Inclusion and Reconciliation

  • Became the first Sault Ste. Mayor to raise the pride flag;
  • Developed strong relationships with our neighbouring First Nations communities;
  • Formally recognized the importance of the Truth and Reconciliation report;
  • Participated in Cultural Competency training and supported offering the training for members of City Council, City Staff, and community partners.
  • Supported youth engagement through the development of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, Mayor for a Day and Why I Love Canada contests;

 

Community Development and Quality of Life

  • Participated in the development of a broad based community development plan;
  • Developed a structure to implement the community development plan and secured funding from the provincial and federal governments to allow it to be carried out;
  • Supported many positive quality of life developments such as Gore Street reconstruction, the Pump Track in Esposito Park, the Strathclair Dog Park, the Community Orchard and the Hub Trail extension at the Etienne Brule site, the sensory playground and the splash pad at Bellevue Park;

 

Economic Leadership & Advocacy

  • Supported Algoma throughout the CCAA process;
  • Supported Tenaris through the downturn in oil prices and its shutdown;
  • Negotiated a strong municipal tax recovery agreement with the prospective new owners of Algoma;
  • Lead the EDC/City team for the NorOnt Ferrochrome Processing Facility submission—Sault Ste. Marie is now one of two possible locations for this potential billion-dollar development;
  • Worked with NOLUM to lobby the federal government for increased funding for FedNor and to develop an immigration strategy for Northern Ontario;
  • Worked with OLG through the modernization process to secure a commitment to the lottery office in Sault Ste. Marie;
  • Assisted with securing funding for Sault Area Hospital for Coronary Percutaneous Intervention (angioplasty);
  • Assisted with securing funding for 84 additional Long-Term Care beds for the Ontario Finnish Resthome and Van Daele Manor.

Accountability

In 2014, I spoke about the importance of being a Mayor who is accountable to the citizens. Whether it has been being active with the PUC or speaking to citizens about Council decisions, I’ve worked hard to live up that responsibility. Accountability starts with the decision-makers. When faced with tough economic times, City Council froze its own honorariums. We also reduced the size of our Council so that it would be a more appropriate size for a community of our population.

  • Developed and implemented a much stronger and better code of conduct, improved the committee and board appointment process and implemented other accountability measures such as recording caucus meetings;
  • Supported the passage of Bill 8 which extended oversight of the Ontario Ombudsman to municipalities;
  • PUC - I committed during the last election campaign to become involved in the PUC and I have been from day one. The PUC Board, management and staff have worked hard to address our challenges and deliver better water and reliable power.  While doing so, we have done our best to keep the water rates and distribution costs as low as possible;
  • Completed a Mayor’s community consultation in partnership with the planning department;
  • Restructured the municipality and redeveloped the City’s Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan to focus on community development;
  • Communicated my perspectives directly with citizens using social media and blogging;
  • Reduced the size of Council and froze honorariums.

Responsible Spending

City Council has examined and challenged city spending, improved our budgetary processes, developed and implemented a surplus policy and a long - term tax policy, and successfully encouraged staff to find saving through vacancy management and job gapping. We have worked hard to minimize tax increases and to decrease the municipal burden, while also making strategic investments in the future.  We have made progress but there is certainly more to be done.

Spending & Taxes

  • Worked to reduce and minimize utility costs by foregoing planned or permitted increases to both distribution and water costs at the PUC and by reducing the City’s sewer surcharge;
  • Decreased our average municipal burden (combined residential taxes and water/wastewater costs) to the among the lowest in the province;
  • Completed a full review of City spending;
  • Kept residential property taxes among the lowest of Northern Ontario’s major cities;
  • Developed a long-term tax plan to help restore balance across different tax classes;
  • Developed a surplus policy to ensure budget surpluses are used responsibly;
  • Declined to implement Development Charges, which would have imposed additional upfront costs on new construction;
  • Implemented a vacancy management plan and a job-gapping policy at the City to manage labour costs;
  • Improved the City budgeting process, having it take place sooner to provide Councillors with more meaningful input and to allow more time for contracts to be tendered.

 

Investing for the Future

  • Decreased energy and service costs to city by changing all the streetlights to LED;
  • Completed and implemented a transit optimization study;
  • Made investments in and improved our Emergency Medical Service capacity;
  • Completed a Fire Master Plan setting the long-term course for a sustainable fire services;
  • Supported the creation of a community-wide SmartGrid—the first of its kind in Canada—that will improve the reliability of the electricity system without a cost to taxpayers or PUC ratepayers;
  • Adopted a Community Improvement Plan to help incentivize new industrial and commercial development

My Priorities

When I ran for Mayor in 2014, I did so because I saw our challenges and believed that if we wanted things to change and improve, we couldn’t keep doing things the way we always had.  I also saw the community we could be: a vibrant city with an unmatched quality of life, a city that will attract and retain great talent and new businesses, and a city that spends wisely and safeguards our future.

 

There is a lot more to do and with your support, I will see that the work gets done.  I make the same commitments to you this election that I did last:  I will demonstrate leadership, I will be accountable for my decisions and I will encourage responsible spending.  You will always know where I stand and what I think and you can always count on my sincere effort. I will continue working for you and for our community.

Responsible Spending

Continue to encourage and ensure responsible budgeting, spending and tax policy.   This Council has made a tremendous effort to control spending and minimize municipal tax increases.  We have made some good progress but we have to continue to be diligent.  At the same time, we have made investments to make our municipality more innovative and efficient.  We need to continue down this path to ensure our municipality is leader in the province.

 

Accountability

Continue to encourage and support policies that build ethical, transparent and accountable governance.  Our Council has passed a much more thorough and significant code of conduct.  We have minimized closed meetings and we respect the jurisdiction and role of the Ombudsman.  We will continue to provide our community with good municipal governance.

 

Reconciliation and Relationship-Building

Continue to develop and improve upon our relationship with our First Nation partners and community members and work with our community stakeholders, like Algoma University and Shingwauk Education Trust, to make our community a national leader in Truth and Reconciliation.

 

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Continue to support, work with and advocate for the Sault Ste. Marie and Area Drug Strategy Committee and the Algoma Leadership Table partners to address the opioid epidemic in our community.  Our community is not alone in addressing this challenge, but we have to recognize the gravity of it and that it will take all of us, working together to find effective solutions.

 

Advocating for the Community

Continue to support community partners and lobby effectively for our community needs. I am particularly proud of the role I played in negotiating the City’s tax agreement with Algoma, securing 84 additional long - term care beds for the Finnish Resthome and Van Daele Manor and obtaining the necessary approval and funding to complete Cardiac Percutaneous Intervention (angioplasty) at SAH.

 

Downtown Redevelopment

Continue, complete and implement our downtown redevelopment plan.  We have done a tremendous amount of work, capital planning and consultation to improve our downtown and we have taken the necessary steps to make it happen. You are seeing some of that this summer but more needs to be and will be done.

 

Strengthening Transit

Continue to work on and improve our transit system.  The average bus in Ontario is 6 years old, the average bus in SSM is over 11.  Transit needs our time, attention and significant investment.  We have completed a route optimization process and we have developed a capital plan to replace a number of our oldest buses.  We have started but we need to keep at it.

 

Building a Safe Community

Continue my work on the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Board to ensure that our investment in policing and community safety is being allocated to address our most pressing concerns and priorities.

 

Building a Smart City

Continue to put the necessary building blocks in place so that Sault Ste. Marie can become a smart city. The PUC has completed the project development and due diligence to build a community wide smart grid.  The municipality itself has undertaken a full information technology review.  City Council has passed a resolution asking staff to develop an open data platform for our municipality.  There is more work to be done but we are well on our way and now have some foundational pieces in place.

 

Implement FutureSSM

Continue to support, encourage and implement FutureSSM.  We have now have the project team and funding in place to build on the important work of the community adjustment committee.  I want to continue to support and work with this project and the project team.  We will do great things if we stay focused, work together and continue to look ahead.

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Sault Ste. Marie, ON, P6A 1Z4

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