Re: Province must surrender secret report from 2019 study of Niagara governance, says Port Colborne regional councillor, Nov. 29
The request from Coun. Fred Davies of Port Colborne for the release of the Fenn-Seiling report is an excellent start to the next round of the eternal municipal governance debate.
Most of the opinions for change and improvement have been expressed many times since the early 1990s. However, the strong mayor powers in Bill 39 is one major change that has strengthened the argument for an elected regional chair.
The regional chair is a head of council that can follow the example of Welland Mayor Frank Campion, appointing the chief administrative officer and passing motions with only one-third of council. A mayor is elected at large by the public, not appointed by council. None of this was relevant in 2019 for the Fenn-Seiling report.
The transfer of transit to Niagara Region's budget makes the regional tax bigger than city tax on most properties, which is also new since the Fenn-Seiling report.
Electing the regional chair at large is the very minimum change Niagara needs.
Bruce Timms, St. Catharines