Monday, August 25, 2014

Promoting Pelham’s Interests at AMO Conference

Last week, Councillors King and Papp, Town CAO Darren Ottaway, and I attended the 115th Annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference (AMO). The Annual Conference offers a range of learning sessions and networking opportunities for municipal leaders. More than 1,200 delegates attended the three-day event in London themed “At the 4front.”

While at AMO, your Pelham reps also directly advanced your interests with the Provincial Government through meetings with various Ministries.

First, we met with the Lou Rinaldi, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing, to propose changes to the Greenbelt Plan and to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). We asked that the commercial district of Ridgeville be included as a “hamlet” during the 2015 review of the Greenbelt; we also suggested that the Government relax the rules to make it easier for Towns to build Fire Stations in the Greenbelt and that they consider more flexibility for farm operations. Then we suggested improvements to the OMB appeal process based on the months and months of delays we faced before the ultimate approval of the Town’s Official Plan and East Fonthill Secondary Plan.

Next, we met with Arthur Potts, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture & Rural Affairs regarding a potential multi-faceted community centre. We outlined the extensive process we have used to determine the need for and feasibility of a centre; we also explained our need for Provincial funding to help make the construction more affordable. Finally, we outlined the other important developments in the East Fonthill area – the medical centre, the retirement home, the home for Wellspring Niagara, and the additional retail businesses.

Then, we met with Kathryn McGarry, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Transportation, regarding the proposed streetscape cross-sections – including separate bike and walking paths – and the construction of a public square in the East Fonthill development. We also asked to work together with MTO to increase the “way-finding” signage to Pelham.

We met also with Eleanor McMahon, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Natural Resources and expressed our deep appreciation for the recent protection of the Fonthill Kame as an Area of Natural & Scientific Interest (ANSI). The Ministry protected the Kame after our five years urging and we requested that protections remain untouched for many decades.

Finally, I also joined other Niagara Mayors and the Regional Chair to meet with the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, to express the rational for an extension of GO transit commuter rail service to Niagara Region.

Please be assured that Council and I will continue to take all opportunities to promote Pelham’s interests to the Provincial Government.