His Worship Regional Chair Gary Burroughs
Members of Council Business Planning Session of the Whole
RE: Governance in Niagara
To: Regional Chair and Members of Council Business Planning Session of the Whole,
On behalf of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) we would like to applaud you for taking active steps towards addressing the issue of governance in Niagara that has been raised by both the business community and the general public.
As you may know, the GNCC is a representative body that comprises over 1,300 businesses, which represents over 30,000 employees. Recently, the Chamber made a presentation to Regional Council in which we outlined the importance of including the business community in consultations on governance models in Niagara. In addition, we reiterated the need for Niagaraʼs elected officials to take decisive action on governance in time for the 2014 municipal elections. This memo outlines the Chamberʼs specific recommendations on modernizing governance in Niagara.
Over the past few years, the Chamber has conducted extensive research on the issue of governance in Niagara culminating in the report Supporting Prosperity Through Effective Government in Niagara. The report examined areas in which Niagaraʼs overall governance model could be modified to facilitate a more coordinated, efficient, representative public administration. Surveys of businesses were conducted to form the basis of the report, in which the overwhelming opinion was that governance needs to be re-worked in Niagara. More than 80 per cent of businesses surveyed believe that there is a need to re-examine the size and complexity of municipal government and the administration of programs and services at both orders of local government.
Supporting Prosperity Through Effective Government in Niagara was widely circulated in the last municipal election to those standing for office at both orders of government, and the report was favourably received in the media and at public forums. At the 2012 Niagara Economic Summit, we heard similar sentiments from the more than 400 delegates about the need to modernize Niagaraʼs governance structure, and again it was raised during the Ontario Economic Summit Niagara Economic Leadership Roundtable.
Based on the feedback from the business community, which includes constituents from across Niagara, we believe that now is the time to modernize Niagaraʼs governance structure. You have the power to affect positive change in Niagara – and we urge you to move forward immediately in building a governance model that reflects Niagara in the 21st century.
The Chamber is therefore recommending:
- That Regional Council approves the direct election of a Regional Chair and that appropriate notification is provided to the provincial government for implementation in time for the 2014 Municipal Election.
- That Regional Council establish the provision and formula for a double-direct election system in Niagara for implementation in time for the 2014 Municipal Election.
An enclosed comprehensive report provides full analysis and details associated with the two recommendations. The Chamber believes that in order for the Region to take the next steps in its efforts to operate an effective and efficient organization, the implementation of these two recommendations must be a priority. We would like to thank you for your consideration on this critical issue for Niagaraʼs business community. We look forward to hearing from you soon. If you require any further information please direct your staff to contact the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.
Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce