BRIDGE-IT AGAIN

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Any time that Thorold City Council might seem like a long, boring, senseless waste of time, I’ll remind myself of the several Regional Council and Committee meetings I’ve attended. It’s not that Thorold Council can’t be a long, boring, senseless waste of time. It just reminds me that all things are relative and that they can be much worse. I’d hate to think that anything as dysfunctional as the Region could have ended up being our Niagara Municipal Council fifteen years ago.

Anyways, the point of this latest rant is the ongoing proceedings concerning the City of Thorold’s request to have the Region fund the Port Robinson Ferry (or Bridge-It, as it is informally christened). This was now our second attendance at the Region’s Public Works Committee in regard to the request, a visit made necessary by the fact that there wasn’t an actual report in the staff report last time.

The first half hour was mostly taken up with the dissolution of the Bicycle Committee and absorbing them into an Active Transportation Committee. For some time, they discussed possible friendly amendments until suddenly Reg. Coun. Tim Rigby noticed that no one had made a motion to which to  make amendments.

When they finally came to the Bridge-It request, St. Catharines Regional Councilor Bruce Timms made a motion regarding the Staff report, since there was no recommendation. They spent the first twenty minutes or so discussing whether they were actually allowed to discuss the matter at all. This took some time to iron out but, when the dust settled, they had decided that, since Council had referred the item to the Budget, they couldn’t talk about the part of the motion that spoke to the Region paying for anything.

So, to make this long story no longer than it already is, they all agreed that the first part of the motion was right: the federal government should pay for it and that the Region should get involved in making it so.

What was accomplished? Next to nothing, although I’m certain the Regional Councilors all feel better about having passed the buck back to the Feds who, so far, haven’t shown any interest whatsoever. The upshot is that I and as many other supporters we can muster will be at the Committee of the Whole session on Thursday evening, the budget portion starting at 6:30 p.m.

Reg. Coun. Andy Petrowski has promised to ask the Committee of the Whole to move the Bridge-It matter forward from its spot on page twenty-six of the agenda, so if you want Bridge-It to keep on running to come on out and show your support. Just hope it doesn’t get deferred again.

By the way, if want something to read, or are having trouble falling asleep, their budget documents are at www.niagararegion.ca/council/Council%20Documents/2015/brcotw-agenda-nov-26-20153.pdf , all1054 pages of it. The good news? No regional tax increase so far.

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