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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Communique: Niagara Week 2014

His Worship Regional Chair Gary Burroughs
Members of Regional Council

RE: Niagara Week 2014

To: Regional Chair and Members of Regional Council,

On behalf of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) and our corporate partners we would like to applaud Regional Council for taking active steps towards developing a focused advocacy approach to bringing GO Train Commuter Service to Niagara. After a review of the established priorities set by Regional Council for the upcoming Niagara Week 2014 at Queenʼs Park, we are urging Council to amend its priorities and make GO Train Commuter Service to Niagara the targeted priority this year.

In consultation with businesses across the region, the Chamber has identified GO Train daily commuter service as a top priority to improve Niagaraʼs economic position. Connecting Niagara to the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is a central component to rebuilding a robust regional economy, attracting a highly-skilled workforce and closing the productivity gap in Niagara. The Ministry of Finance has also acknowledged the importance of high-quality public transportation in the creation of a strong and prosperous provincial economy. Building Modern Infrastructure was included in the Ministryʼs three-part plan to create jobs and economic growth released this past fall, along with a pledge to invest over $35 billion in infrastructure over the next three years and explore new revenue tools for the funding of publictransit expansions.

In addition, we have seen other communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe benefit from a targeted advocacy strategy on GO Transit that has included the local business community. This includes the recent announcements of:

  • Expanded GO rail service to Barrie
  • Additional morning and evening GO Trains to Guelph
  • Doubling of GO Trains running from Kitchener to Toronto
  • Construction of a new GO Station in Hamilton

It is with this in mind that we are requesting that Niagara Week 2014 strongly focus on advocating for Metrolinx and the Ontario government to commit to the immediate expansion of GO Train daily commuter service to Niagara, with a fixed timeline to extend daily commuter service to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. By focusing this way, we will be able to effectively communicate that Niagara is falling behind other communities that have access to daily commuter service outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and demonstrate that it is time for Niagara to get fully linked into the GO Transit system.

As a business community, we are committed to fully engaging our membership on this issue and working with you to make GO Train daily commuter service to Niagara a reality. We would like to thank you for your consideration on this issue – one that is critical to the future success of Niagaraʼs economy.

If you require any further information please direct your staff to contact Kithio Mwanzia, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerceʼs Director of Policy and Government Relations, at (905) 684-2362 ext. 222, or via email at policy@gncc.ca.

Sincerely, and on behalf of the following Niagara businesses,

  • Walter Sendzik – CEO, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce
  • Wade Stayzer – Vice President Retail and Investment Services, Meridian Credit Union
  • Mike Watt – Executive Vice President, Walker Industries
  • Dave DiFelice – Vice President, Canadian Tire Financial Services
  • Ian Kowalchuk – Partner Business Development, Merit Contractors Niagara
  • Ruth Unrau – Chair, Women in Niagara (WIN) Council
  • Phil Ritchie – President, Keefer Developments Ltd.
  • Greg Medulun – Director of Communications, Fallsview Casino Resort
  • Dave Shaw – Vice President Sales and Marketing, Advanced Office Solutions (AOS)
  • Jessica Potts – Chair, NEXTNiagara
  • Alan Simpson – Partner, Partridge Iggulden LLP, CA
  • Alex Digenis – Owner, Henley Honda and Subaru of Niagara
  • Steve Cook – President, Credit Bureau Services Canada
  • Del Rollo – Director, Eastern Estate Wineries and Government Relations, Constellation Brands Inc.
  • Nancy Diamond – Manager, Kelly Services Niagara
  • Adam Shields – President, Business Link Media Group
  • Joe McCallum – Partner, JM Law
  • Jeff Chesebrough – CEO, Innovate Niagara
  • Paul Speck – Partner, Henry of Pelham Winery