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Request for Decision

Report on Filming in Residential Areas

Presented To: City Council
Presented: Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017
Report Date: Wednesday, Aug 02, 2017
Type: Managers' Reports

Signed By

Report Prepared By
Meredith Armstrong
Manager of Tourism and Culture
Digitally Signed Aug 2, 17

Financial Implications
Liisa Lenz
Coordinator of Budgets
Digitally Signed Aug 3, 17

Recommended by the Department
Ian Wood
Director of Economic Development
Digitally Signed Aug 2, 17

Recommended by the C.A.O.
Ed Archer
Chief Administrative Officer
Digitally Signed Aug 4, 17


THAT the City of Greater Sudbury approves the recommendation as outlined in the staff report entitled “Filming in Residential Areas” dated August 2, 2017, in support of the existing Film By-Law, and directs staff to update and strengthen the Greater Sudbury Film Guidelines based on industry best practices regarding filming specific to production duration and hours of filming on both public and private property, including in residential areas; and

THAT this approach is brought forward for a fulsome review, including public and industry consultation, in 2019 in advance of the Film By-Law expiry on January 1, 2020.

Relationship to the Strategic Plan / Health Impact Assessment

Greater Together: 2015-2018 Corporate Strategic Plan - Growth & Economic Development

  • Grow the economy and attract investment: Provide a welcoming environment that is conducive to investment and reduction of red tape, by removing barriers and attracting new business
  • Implement or assist in implementing economic development related plans approved by council, with the necessary resources to support them, or continue planning to include the executive of From the Ground Up and The Greater Sudbury Cultural Plan

From the Ground Up Community Economic Development Strategic Plan:

Goal Six - Nationally recognized for artistic excellence, vibrancy and creativity

  • 6.2.4: Make Greater Sudbury a “film friendly” regional hub by updating film policies to reflect current sector needs

Report Summary

On April 25th, 2017, Council passed a motion directing staff to suggest ways to mitigate negative impacts of filming activity in residential areas.

In November 2015, Council directed staff to develop the current film By-Law to regulate filming on municipal property only; in April 2016, Council approved an amendment to allow filming in all zones.

On-location filming, including in residential areas, remains essential to the success of Greater Sudbury’s film industry. Balancing the interests of residents, film productions, local businesses and the municipality is a challenge here, as it is in nearly all cities active in the film and television industry. In those cities surveyed, as with Greater Sudbury, there are consistently far more positive experiences than there are negative ones. Nevertheless, staff endeavor to be responsive and proactive in mitigating situations as they arise on a case-by-case basis within the parameters of the existing By-Law systems.

Industry research also indicates that many jurisdictions regulate filming activity on public property only, and that Film Guidelines and Codes of Conduct are effective tools to moderate filming and mitigate negative impacts on residential areas alike.

Council has prioritized the need to reduce barriers to business and to make Greater Sudbury a “film friendly” city. The film sector pays close attention municipal policy development, and staff have been contacted by industry representatives concerned by perceived restrictions on filming in key areas.

Greater Sudbury’s competitiveness as a film destination depends on regional incentives as well as its ability to service a variety of film production types. Efforts to mitigate effects of filming in residential areas must balance the needs of residents with the interests of the film sector as an important economic driver. It is staff’s recommendation that the Film Guidelines are strengthened regarding filming on private property as the course of action. It can be implemented in the short term and is suggested as an initial step. If Council wishes to explore the potential for other options, this should require industry consultation, economic impact analysis and a more fulsome report and presentation to Council.

Should Council approve the recommendation, it is suggested that the review for this approach is brought back to Council in 2019, in advance of the expiry of the current Film By-Law in 2020.

Financial Implications

There are no financial impacts associated with this report.