Add Welland to the list of Niagara cities getting ‘strong mayor’ powers

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Published August 21, 2023 at 3:14 pm

Welland Mayor Frank Campion is now the the third Niagara area community leader to be given "strong mayor" powers by the Province.

A month after both Niagara Falls’ Jim Diodati and St. Catharines’ Mat Siscoe were granted “strong mayor” powers by the Province, Welland’s Frank Campion has been added to the list.

Premier Doug Ford added 21 additional communities to the strong mayor list today while speaking at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s conference and among them was Welland.

While neither Diodati nor Siscoe has exercised their strong mayor powers as of yet, what they essentially do is allow mayors to override council decisions made on housing-related bylaws and by extension, zoning.

Both Diodati and Siscoe said at the time that they didn’t anticipate needing the extra powers and would likely continue to follow the will of the council-at-large.

Many municipal councillors have decried the extra powers as undemocratic.

Ostensibly, Ford is giving out the powers to allow municipal leaders to fast-track housing in their communities to hit his target of building 1.5 million new homes by 2031.

However, Welland, a community of 52,000, was one of the province’s communities that was allowed to calculate its own housing numbers and subsequently set a 2031 target of 12,257 units.

Most of the city’s work needed to develop its target and plans to meet the target was done last year when the city came out with its housing action plan, so staff were able to move quickly. It is anticipated that Welland will have little difficulty meeting that number.

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