Chamber says Niagara mayors not fans of ‘super mayor’ powers


Published August 18, 2022 at 2:54 pm

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said, “I don’t think mayors need any more authority."

The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce said the mayors of Niagara’s three major municipalities – St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland – are not overly impressed with the possibilities of “super mayor” powers being extended beyond Toronto and Ottawa.

At the 2022 Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Ottawa earlier this week, MPP Steve Clark, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said the creation of the “strong mayors” powers, common in bigger U.S. cities, gives the mayors a chance to handle new housing projects without council approval.

Mayors in Ontario have always been just one vote at the council table.

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik, who is not running again in October, said if the province wants to address housing, it should “stop focusing” on expanding the powers of mayors and instead “strengthen” its own provincial policies, which municipalities design official plans around.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati was even more blunt, noting, “I don’t think it’s a great idea. I don’t think mayors need any more authority. Their job is to create a vision, along with council, and then try to foster it and see it through by being inclusive.”

Welland Mayor Frank Campion said he doesn’t agree with the “strong mayors” approach, “particularly for municipalities our size.”

In 2021, St. Catharines had a population of 141,397; Niagara Falls had a population of 96,206 while Welland had a population of 56,652.

By comparison, Toronto had a population of  6,255,000 last year while Ottawa’s numbers were 1,488,307 in 2021.

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