Debate surrounds call for changes to Niagara government
Frustration following Thursday night's Regional Council meeting.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce put forward a report with a number of proposals for a change in governance in Niagara.
Among them, a double direct elect system for councillors - meaning councillors would serve at both a municipal and regional level.
GNCC Policy Director Kithio Mwanzia says that would close the communication loop and eliminate the duplication of services.
The chamber also calling for the Regional Chair to be directly elected.
Mwanzia says as we look at the need to speak with one voice, it allows the opportunity to strengthen that push, as well as elevate regional issues come election time.
The goal was to have the changes in place for the Municipal election in 2014, but CEO of the GNCC Walter Sendzik says it was a big step back last night.
Sendzik says there is a fear of change and a lack of courage and conviction at the Regional Council level.
Sendzik says they are now taking the discussion to the general public to push for change and move Niagara forward.
Welland Regional councillor Peter Kormos one of those not in favour of the proposed changes.
He says we're in small enough communities we don't need full time councillors.
St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan says he's in favour of having a directly elected chair; he says in a word it's about democracy.
As for the idea of double duty councillors, McMullan says he worries you'd lose very good councillors at both the city and regional level if it becomes a full time commitment.