Regional Councillor Report — October 2020

First off, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

The weather was perfect and, while we had to be careful of gatherings thanks to the ongoing pandemic issues, I can say it seemed to work out.  I tip my hat to all our citizens who have been so diligent and I, like everyone, look forward to getting back to normal.  Hopefully we see breakthroughs in 2021.

There is a lot happening and, while not all is completely popular, we are making progress on a variety of items at the Region.

Waste Management

There are changes starting October 19 to Waste Management in Niagara.

There are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Recycling (green bin, blue bin, gray bin) will be picked up every week
  • Garbage will be picked up every second week — and every household will be allowed 2 bags of garbage on those days.

So, why the changes?

Niagara Region is just completing 10 years with the same company.  The original contract was for 7 years and it was extended by the last Council for an additional 3.  From a financial point of view, Council made a reasonable decision.  However, there were issues that evolved and there has been a fair bit of discontent.

Going back to the marketplace, costs have increased dramatically.  Plus the rules associated with recycling have changed to some degree.  Our staff at the Region reviewed best practices across the province (with regards to Regions) and the methodology being put in place will be what is followed pretty much across Ontario.

Please take some time to get fully acquainted with the changes — Click here to go to Region of Niagara Waste Management Website.

An app has also been built to provide information about recycling and waste management — it is available both at the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.

Budget 2021

As of October 15, we will be into budget discussions for 2021.

This will be an interesting year, to say the least.  The pandemic has created financial pressures that, while mostly mitigated through refocusing at Region and through federal/provincial monies, are expected to continue through at least 2021 and potentially beyond.

Council is committed to capital infrastructure upgrades.  The preliminary budget is just over $500 million and is to be used for water treatment plant fixes/builds, wastewater upgrades, long term care rebuilds and many other areas that the Region has responsibility for.

For the Town of Lincoln, we are looking at the following that are important to our community:

Wastewater

  • Campden pumping station upgrades, $1.2 million
  • Ontario Street pumping station, $850,000
  • Construction timelines
    • Campden 2021, Ontario St. 2023, Laurie Ave 2021, Bridgeport 2021, Jordan Valley 2022

Road work

  • King Street reconstruction between Durham and Lincoln $1 million
  • Road resurfacing – unclear which roads yet

Vision zero infrastructure requirements $500K (see comments below).

Thank you to everyone who provided input through the Region of Niagara survey — please don’t hesitate to touch base with me if you have specific concerns or areas you want further reviewed.

Road and Traffic Safety

Traffic and safety concerns remain one of the key topics that I receive comment on from the community.  Speeding seems to have become epidemic, plus truck traffic also seems to be on the increase.  I have also received a lot of complaints around vehicle noise.

So, a few comments.

Road and traffic safety has been and remains a key issue for me — and this term, we have made some progress.  Building on the changes made to Mountain Street, we have reduced speeds on both Victoria and Ontario Streets in town.  A community safety zone has been put in place on Victoria Avenue for Twenty Valley School.  And an ongoing movement study is continuing for downtown Beamsville, with the data and information from this to be used in a major revamp.

While the pandemic has caused some delays, the Region is gearing up for Vision Zero — for full information on what this entails, please click here to take you to the Ontario Good Roads site.

New technologies for Niagara will be put in place — this includes the use of red light cameras and the use of speed monitoring cameras in critical areas of our municipality.  More to come as we approve budgets (which I am very much supporting).

While this may at times not seem to be moving as quickly as we all want, you can be certain that this remains top of mind as both myself and Mayor Easton as we approach the Region.

And finally …

I don’t have an official budget for things like promotion — however, I have created the following to help get messaging out:

https://politicsniagara.ca
https://facebook.com/robertfosterniagara
https://twitter.com/rjfoster7777

Please visit these and like or follow.

You can also click here for my Niagara Region website page.

I look forward to continuing with you on this journey.

Thank you.