As the dust settles from the provincial election, municipalities and councillors from West Niagara have weighed in on what they think MPP Sam Oosterhoff and the government should tackle this term.
Below, Niagara this Week looks at each municipality’s stated priorities in helping them meet the challenges facing the region.
From Grimsby, Chief Administrative Officer Harry Schlange said the “most impactful” priorities would be: the completion of the West Lincoln Memorial hospital and investment in the hospice facility at the health hub location, continued support in the investment in the Peach King Centre, continued commitment to all-day GO service and construction of the Grimsby station and protection of the Greenbelt.
The Town of Lincoln also focused on the hospital, saying they would like to see the fulfilment of a facility that would meet the needs of West Niagara and its growing population.
The importance of value-added agriculture was also highlighted by the town, and they are advocating for ongoing financial support for Lincoln’s tourism and hospitality sector to support economic recovery. The town would also like the government to permit more diversification of on-farm uses to permit economic recovery and job creation.
They would also like to see continued provincial funding to enable municipalities to respond to climate change impacts, to ensure clean lakes and protect shorelines.
Improvements in provincial regulations to promote green infrastructure and low-impact development on public and private property were also highlighted.
They also call for investments in parks, recreation, sport so that residents can access high-quality public spaces and programming which contributes to their overall health and well-being.
Finally, Lincoln highlighted the need to protect the Greenbelt by focusing on growth within the urban boundary to continue to protect the area’s specialty crop lands.
In West Lincoln, Niagara this Week spoke to individual councillors about their priorities.
Councillor Jason Trombetta said that he would like to see the government deal with inflation, provide a good living wage and get people into the housing market. Agriculture should be protected, he said, and growth should be conducted responsibly. Businesses should be attracted to the area to create jobs.
Councillor Shelley Bradaric would like the incoming government to recognize the importance of the north-south transportation link connecting West Lincoln to the Queen Elizabeth Way. “This is vital to the economic growth of our community and equally important to the safety and well-being of our local roads,” she said.
Mayor Dave Bylsma said that provincial assistance toward the township’s planning and building departments was key. “It's well and good that the federal and provincial counterparts desire to solve the housing shortfall,” he said. “But currently the heavy lifting is being done by the municipalities to answer the challenge and across the board they are breaking us down.”
Councillor William Reilly called for funding for rural infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and culvert replacements, investment in rural-based municipalities’ child-care needs, assistance with affordable rental space opportunities, an incentive program that increases the amount of physician establishments in rural communities, and the reform or dissolution of the Ontario Land Tribunal.
And finally, Councillor Cheryl Ganann also spoke about the importance of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in providing modern health care. She also wanted investment in parks, recreation and sport to create high quality public spaces and activities. She called for agriculture to be supported through the diversification of on-farm uses, and for municipalities to be funded to respond to the impacts of climate change. Retaking ownership for housing needs was also high on her wish list.
Oosterhoff said his priorities were to rebuild the economy, grow the region responsibly, build key infrastructure, keep costs down, and keep Ontario open.
Chris Pickles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News