I encourage everyone to have a read through the St. Catharines/Thorold Chamber of Commerce’s report (released today) entitled “Supporting Prosperity Through Effective Government in Niagara“. It was especially comforting for me because a lo of what the report said matched up closely with what I’ve been hearing and saying at the door in St. Patrick’s Ward.
People recognize the need for more private economic development. They see the construction boom, but understand that all those cranes are being paid for by public, taxpayer dollars. Residents want to see City and Regional Council do the things that need to be done to enhance and improve the prospects for small, medium and large business to create new economic activity.
There needs to be more interaction between the City and the Region – one hand of government needs to know what the other hand is doing. There needs to be more streamlining of government services. There needs to be a lowering of industrial and commercial tax rates (and with the uploading of services to the Province, this can be done without over-burdening the residential taxpayer). There needs to be a transit system that makes sense – not just inside of the city, but around the region as well.
If elected, I look forward to sitting down with the Chamber and seriously discussing ways to move forward with some of the ideas in the report as they pertain to Municipal government. It’s time to solidify the economic gains we’ve made, and take St. Catharines forward to better economic times.
UPDATE: The Standard article related to the article is here.