Sunday, August 16, 2015

Kame, Hydro, and Public Transit at AMO Conference

This week, Councillors Accursi, Durley, King, Papp and Rybiak and I will attend the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conference in Niagara Falls. The annual three-day conference offers a range of learning sessions and networking opportunities and organizers expect more than 1,600 delegates!

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

First, we plan to meet with Kathryn McGarry, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Transportation, regarding our Community Transportation Pilot Project. We realized that the Town already provided transit options for special events (like Summerfest, Canada Day, and Thursday night events) and Pelham Cares provided accessible transit for seniors. By getting feedback from the community and joining these services together, might we be able to structure a type of transit service? We will be thanking Ms. McGarry for the $100,000 Provincial grant which will help the Town work with the private sector to link these services and to connect with other transit systems. (Please click here for a copy of our presentation to the MTO.)

Next, we will meet with Eleanor McMahon, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Natural Resources, about increasing the protection of the Fonthill Kame. For the last seven years, we effectively used AMO and “Niagara Week” meetings to urge the Province to enhance the Area of Natural & Scientific Interest (ANSI) protections of the Kame. Last year we thanked Ms. McMahan for finalizing those protections in late 2013. This year we intend to ask MRN to add much more of the Fonthill Kame to the protections offered by the Niagara Escarpment Plan. (Please click here for a copy of our presentation to MNR.)

Then, along with representatives from Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI), we will meet with Bob Delaney, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, to discuss Pelham’s electricity assets. While the former Village of Fonthill hydro assets are managed by NPEI, Hydro One owns and manages the remainder (and majority) of Pelham’s electricity infrastructure. We are calling for the Government to allow meaningful and substantive discussions for NPEI to purchase Pelham’s electricity assets at fair market value. By the way, the average Hydro One customer – using 800kWh per month – pays $290 per year (17%) more than an NPEI customer! (Please click here for a copy of our presentation to Min of Energy.)

Finally, I will be joining other Niagara Mayors and the Regional Chair to meet with the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, to promote an extension of GO transit commuter rail service into Niagara.

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