With residents across Niagara becoming more aware in civics, calling for change and a sweeping out of Councils both at the municipal and regional levels, it comes as no surprise that there are five open mayoral seats in the Region. For some, it is often better to throw in the towel than suffer a defeat by the electorate at the ballot box.
The Niagara Independent is taking a look at each of these five seats and the contenders within them by first examining the race here in Grimsby. As a caveat, their articles do need to be taken with a grain of salt as they are heavily right leaning and take a negative stance on organizations such as “A Better Niagara”.
While we will not comment too much on the specifics, the takeaway from the article is that Mr. Berry appears to be riding on the coattails of Mayor Bentley, as a protégé with a similar style of governance and overall vision for the Town. Many would beg to differ with the idealism and ‘everything is great’ position espoused by Mr. Berry in the article.
If you do not like the direction or what has happened in Grimsby in recent years at the hands of the outgoing Council, then you definitely need to look at the issues, the candidates and our Town Hall notes to make an informed and proper decision when you cast your ballot.
You can read the Niagara Independent article here: Five Vacant Mayors Chairs – Grimsby
In all fairness, we want to balance the focus of that article and afford the opportunity for Jeff Jordan to speak about his run for the mayor’s chair.
Most if not all Grimsby residents are familiar with the Jordan family name, through the family’s greenhouses and local business that dates back to 1932. That family business, long a staple on Main Street, was “injuriously affected” after a poorly planned and executed Town sewer project in the spring of 2010 that left the Jordans struggling. You may have heard in recent weeks, as we have, some fallacious rumours on the topic being circulated for potential political gain.
Rather than the courts, the matter went before the OMB which stated that the Town engaged in “careless construction planning, careless construction supervision and careless contract enforcement” and awarded damages to the Jordans for their business losses. The costs were clearly not just financial, Jordan stated that “it really was a tough time, being wronged by the Town… a place I was born, deeply care about and have lived my entire life in”.
For a quick background on the facts of the matter, you can read a short but concise Niagara This Week article here: OMB Rules Town Construction Injuriously Affected Greenhouse
After we reviewed the full OMB decision, we asked Jordan his thoughts on what issues at Town Hall surrounded that 2010 project. Jordan stated that “a lack of transparency and oversight, an absence of concern for the public and local businesses” were the factors at play in the Town. “There was no regard for students or local residents. There was no pre-planning, no project timeframe, it was all left up to the contractor”.
Although the OMB case is history, Jordan still holds that those major issues still plague Council and Town Hall. In contrasting his time on Council from 1997 to 2006, the three-time former Alderman says that “Council has become less transparent, public input is largely ignored and issues are rubber-stamped with little or no debate”.
Without a doubt, transparency has become a major concern in Grimsby with the Ombudsman for Ontario citing the current Council in recent years for multiple violations of the Municipal Act by having closed-door meetings. You can read more about those in our posts here and here.
“Transparency, integrity and no politicking” is how Jordan responded when we asked him what he offers over his opponent. The candidate pledges to lead with an “open and honest approach with everything on the table”, including complete financial disclosures of the Town’s hydro ventures that are now hidden from residents.
Among the issues Jordan sees as being at the forefront of the election are “curbing rampant over-development, attempts to plow through the woodlot and a lack of commitment to attracting businesses” in the Town. Jordan suggests that “proper development is not just building houses and high-rises” and is committed to “bringing new employers to the municipality that would lessen the Town’s heavy reliance on the residential tax payer”.
Jordan stated that he wishes to lead “an open, accessible and interactive Council that encourages public participation and factors those views into Town decisions”. He stressed that there needs to be an “ongoing dialogue with residents” and that “an accountable Council does not keep the community in the dark”. Enabling technologies such as streaming of Council and Committee meetings, which can be implemented with minimal costs are effective first steps in “bridging the communications gap between Council, the Town and residents” Jordan added.
With the stakes in this municipal election higher than ever and two seasoned and committed candidates, voters are faced not only with a decision on who to elect Mayor, but a decision on which direction they want our Town to grow and how we will get there. One candidate already on Council promises to keep going in the same “general direction” as Mayor Bentley has set out, while the other mayoral candidate seeks to bring forth the sensible and responsible governance residents have been yearning for.
Come October, the decision is yours to make. Ensure you are on the voters list by visiting https://www.voterlookup.ca