Happenings at the Region

Here we are, mid-January, in 2019.

For sure, a lot has been happening locally and at Niagara Region over the past month and a half.

Let’s start with the NPCA.

I am on the NPCA Board (interim I will add) as we figure out a number of things with regards to that agency.  From our meeting of January 7, we passed three motions:

  • A CAO selection committee will be setup (to be chosen at the AGM this week, January 16)
  • A Governance committee will be setup (again, chose this week at AGM), whose mandate is to review the overall governance and assorted issues associated with the NPCA
  • A limitation on what the acting CAO may do without Board approval when it comes to HR matters

At the meeting, Dave Bylsma, Mayor of West Lincoln, was chosen as Chair, and Diana Huson, Regional Councillor from Pelham, was chosen Vice-Chair.

At present, the Regional representatives on the NPCA Board have a 3 month mandate from Regional Council — my expectation is that this will be increased so that the committees have an opportunity to complete their work.

The following is the St. Catharines Standard article regarding our new Chair and our meeting:

https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news-story/9121954-npca-on-the-road-to-change-says-new-board-chair/

Lincoln Waste collection.

Operationally, there have been a number of problems encountered with our current Waste collection contractor, so the Region has signed a deal for extra help with Lincoln and West Lincoln.

Week 1 did not go so well.  The new contractor had a number of issues, mostly mechanical, so things were a little delayed and, to be frank, not acceptable.  However, I will give Region staff credit — they were actively involved and week 2, while not perfect, went much better.  We shall see how next week goes.

Committees.

I am on several committees at Niagara Region.  Of the 4 standing committees, I am on Public Works, Planning, and Corporate Services.  I am also very pleased to announce that the Corporate Services committee elected me as Chair for the next two years.

Here are the committees:

  • Public Works — Chair, Tim Rigby (St. Catharines), Vice Chair Kelly Edgar (St. Catharines)
  • Public Health/Community Services — co-Chair Pat Chiocchio (Welland), co-Chair Barbara Greenwood (Niagara Falls)
  • Corporate Services — Chair Robert Foster (Lincoln), Vice Chair Tim Whalen (Thorold)
  • Planning and Economic Development — Chair Diana Huson (Pelham), Vice Chair George Darte (St. Catharines)
  • Budget Committee of the Whole — Chair Gary Zalepa (NOTL), Vice Chair Tim Whalen (Thorold)

Sub Committees that I will be participating in will be setup and running soon, structure(s) to be determined:

  • Audit Committee
  • Procedural By-law Review Committee
  • Regional Development Charges Policy Task Force (expect late 2019)
  • Smarter Niagara Steering Committee

Budget.

The Region has gone through the first iterations of budget, particularly capital.  Operations coming soon.

There are a lot of demands on the Region for services and capital upgrades — however, and as noted by me at Council and in my interview with the Standard, there are some troubling signs facing us on the debt side of the ledger when it comes to the work required.

The following is the document provided to us by staff at Council this past week:

And the following is the article from the St. Catharines Standard that I raise concerns regarding the degree of debt financing being considered:

https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news-story/9121958-niagara-considering-record-setting-274m-capital-budget/

Local happenings.

The Twenty Valley’s Winter Wine Festival has been going on this weekend.  As is usual, very well attended and a very positive event for our municipality of Lincoln.

Thank you.