Twenty-two years. Five campaigns. That’s how long I’ve either been actively working on an integrated and amalgamated transit system for Niagara or campaigning on it.
I am thrilled that – finally – after more than 20 years of political and community advocacy work, Niagara has agreed to integrate and amalgamate transit throughout Niagara. I was also part of two committees (Linking Niagara Transit Committee and Chair of the Accessibility Advisory Committee) that brought on-demand transit to west Niagara municipalities.
I wish that I could attend, as this was my favourite campaign event (yes, those are a thing 😁) last election; however, I will be just returning from New York City with my youngest child in celebration of their 15th birthday. This child who never asks for anything (nor does their brother, really, which makes gift-giving very challenging) asked to see a musical on Broadway for their birthday, so we made it happen.
When campaigning for election, it’s important (to me, at least) to keep people’s expectations realistic. As (hopefully) one member of a 32-member Council, candidates shouldn’t be making promises about things they will do. Candidates can’t promise anything (save for how they will do the work they’re elected to do).
This campaign is my fifth election campaign. Yes, I ran three times for City Council and then – when I was convinced I was never going to do it again – I ran a fourth time. My fourth run was for Regional Council, and the decision to run came after Regional Council spent four solid years (2014-2018) engaging in what I’ll just call extremely problematic behaviour and decision-making. (Also my father-in-law had been telling me for years that I should run for Regional, rather than City, Council).
In 2021, the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis presented to Regional Council that resolving Niagara’s affordable housing crisis would cost $60 billion. For contrast, the Region’s overall operational budget is approximately $1.1 billion.
Whilst it’s imperative that we continue to find ways to increase our stock of affordable housing in Niagara – and this past term of Council did make some headway – we cannot solve this problem alone.