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Province moves forward on double – direct role for the City of St. Catharines

Province moves forward on double – direct role for the City of St. Catharines

Province moves forward on double – direct role for the City of St. Catharines

The St. Catharines plan to change the way it elects councillors to serve double-duty as city and regional councillors is moving to the next step in the process after approval by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

On June 2 the ministry filed a provincial regulation to permit the Regional Municipality of Niagara to move forward with changing the method of selecting regional councillors for the City of St. Catharines. The regulation was posted after a 45 day public consultation period for members of the public to provide
comments to the province for consideration.

“This is great news for St. Catharines and I’d like to thank Minister McMeekin for supporting our initiative to improve local governance,” stated Mayor Walter Sendzik. “This change is about taking our city forward and improving communication, service and responsiveness. It has taken years of hard work by city staff, the governance committee and community members to reach this point in the process. This is a big step and positive change for the future of our city.”

Provincial approval comes after St. Catharines City Council requested Niagara Region to make the request to the province in July 2015. The double direct model was recommended by a city Governance Committee made up of citizens and elected officials in 2013. The change will only impact the composition of St. Catharines City Council and St. Catharines regional councillors. It will not affect other local town or city councils.

Rules for changing the composition of council are regulated by provincial legislation in the Municipal Act. To move the changes forward, Niagara Regional Council will give notice to pass a by-law and host a public meeting. Following a vote by Regional Council, all local municipalities in the Niagara Region must consider the request for the change to be enacted for St. Catharines for the 2018 municipal election. For more information on the double direct model of election for St. Catharines city and regional
councillors read the staff report and reference documents.