Lincoln gets its chance to pitch projects at municipal conference
Published August 20, 2021 at 6:36 pm
Lincoln officials were happy for the chance to express local concerns and issues at the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) 2021 Virtual Conference, held from August 16 to 18.
Mayor Sandra Easton, Council members, and staff met with provincial ministers and MPPs as part of an ongoing dialogue to help realize the Town’s vision of sustainable economic growth, supported by investments in infrastructure and other important community-focused projects that will improve the well-being of Lincoln residents, businesses, and visitors throughout the pandemic and into the future.
“We look to our partners at the Province to support Lincoln through ongoing investment, to help support our growth and contribute to the long-term sustainability and vibrancy of our community,” said Easton afterwards.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to share opportunities and challenges in our community so we can collectively determine solutions that will ensure Lincoln remains a leader in Niagara.”
Town CAO Michael Kirkopoulos said it was important to work closely with upper levels of government to secure funding for important community initiatives and advocate for policies that reflect the needs of the Lincoln community.
“Through partnerships with both public, private and not-for-profit sectors, Lincoln can achieve its community vision of being a place to grow, a place to prosper, and a place to belong,” he said.
Key priorities discussed were:
- Assistance for Public Libraries: For the past 20 years library funding has been frozen in Ontario. Lincoln advocated for the government to unfreeze the funding model and adopt the Ontario Digital Public Library by utilizing cloud-based technology.
- Support for BIAs: The current structure of eligibility requirements for some available grants, such as the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is not accessible for BIAs, which provide tremendous value to their downtown main street businesses but for them to be sustainable and relevant, additional funding is required to support the growth and economic recovery of our downtown main street businesses and destinations.
- Assistance for Tourism and Hospitality: Tax relief for craft wineries and restaurants represent a major opportunity for economic growth. Lincoln pushed for the province to implement structural taxation reform to ensure our businesses reinvest in the community. In addition, Lincoln advocated for a labour employment strategy as the tourism and hospitality sectors in Lincoln, and across the province, are seeing a severe shortage in labour.
- Youth Skills Studio: The $2 million received from the Skills Development Fund sawd an outstanding response through a successful partnership with Civiconnect. With a local shortage of labour, there is a need for the Youth Skills Studio in the community, and it is important to ensure this service remains sustainable for the long term to support youth employment in Lincoln and the surrounding Niagara Region.
- West Lincoln Memorial Hospital: The Town reinforced its gratitude for the committed support of the redevelopment of a new, upgraded hospital to serve the community, leveraging the provincial investment to create a viable economic corridor and health care hub for Lincoln and all West Niagara.
- Niagara Escarpment Crossing: The urgency for the North-South Niagara Escarpment Crossing at Bartlett Avenue in Grimsby was expressed as a priority project in Lincoln. The new crossing would reduce commercial vehicle traffic travelling through residential and downtown business districts. All three West Niagara local municipalities, as well as the Niagara Region, support this project.
- Transportation Infrastructure: Lincoln continued to advocate for increased GO expansion into Niagara and the need for a station in Beamsville; this will serve our community for commuters and visitors.
- Land Use Planning in Lincoln: Updating the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Lincoln’s new zoning by-law as it pertains to cannabis cultivation and sharing concerns about the loss of prime agricultural land to cannabis cultivation and the pressures it places on tender fruit crops