Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Welland may hike fixed water costs

Campion: "We keep making minor adjustments to how we bill for water and sewer as opposed to actually making a fundamental change as to how we actually charge people,” he said. “Based on the fact that the region charges us about 100% fixed costs for sewer treatment, and a variable rate for water, we might be able to use that to benefit the users.”

Human performance centre plans change significantly

“Council is ultimately responsible for this and we’d better fix it,” Fortier said. “I’m really concerned about the human performance centre, and I’m really concerned about the lack of transparency from the technical committee.”
Ward 2 Coun. Frank Campion said the loss of Brock as a partner has put plans for the facility at risk.
“If they’re not part of this, who is? And why would we spend money on something that’s going to turn into a white elephant if we have nobody to go into it afterwards. We don’t need empty buildings that are costing us money to maintain and run programing,” Campion said

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Welland water bills going up 11.17%

Ward 2 Coun. Frank Campion suggested cutting $150,000 from the budget that was earmarked to develop a new bylaw that would require property owners to remove storm drain connections to sanitary sewers -- something he said could be dealt with through public education.

Voting in favour of the budget were Grenier, Ward 2 Coun. Barry Sharpe, Ward 3 Coun. Mike Belcastro, Ward 1 Coun. Rick Alakas, Ward 6 Coun. Jim Larouche, Ward 5 Couns. Rocky Letourneau and Coun. Mark Dzugan and Mayor Damian Goulbourne.
Ward 1's Van Vliet, Campion, and Ward 4 Couns. Pat Chiocchio and David Alexander voted against the increas
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Monday, 6 October 2014

New hospital talk ‘a terrible mistake’: Mayor

“I think it was a mistake to engage in the discussion of a new hospital for south Niagara. I wish I had means or I’d taken the time to say don’t do this,” Sharpe said during Tuesday’s health-care committee meeting.

In June, Sharpe joined the mayors of Niagara Falls, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, Pelham and Wainfleet, and regional chairman Gary Burroughs to unanimously recommend two potential sites for a new south Niagara hospital — near the intersection of Hwy. 140 and East Main St. in Welland, and near Lyon’s Creek Rd and QEW in Niagara Falls.

In his final report released in September, Smith chose the Niagara Falls location to include among his recommendations to Health Minister Deb Matthews about restructuring hospital services in Niagara.

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Petition ready for signing

“We certainly need a lot of community involvement to make it work,” said committee chair Frank Campion.

“We need the community to get involved and help us with this. We also need the community to sign the petition. The petition is useless unless we have a lot of names on it,” the Ward 2 councillor said.

“I’m asking all residents of south Niagara — not just Welland — to get involved in this through the distribution and signing of the petition.”

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Glimmer of Hope

Welland - WELLAND - Frank Campion said the Minister of Health and Long Term Care never knew about the report prepared by a team of Welland doctors two years ago.

She does now.

At a meeting last week, the Ward 2 city councillor and chair of the city's health care committee told Deb Matthews about the report, which included the concerns of physicians about the future of the local hospital if the hospital improvement plan is implemented here. And Campion said he feels a little more hopeful about health care in Niagara, after joining a delegation of Niagara mayors and regional chair Gary Burroughs who visited the minister of health, Tuesday.

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Council split on budget; City could have done a better job reducing spending, say councillors

Ward 2 Coun. Frank Campion said the city can "definitely do better" than a 6.99 per cent tax hike. He plans "to promote that" at tonight's meeting.

He, too, said there's need for infrastructure investment, but said it needs to remain within limits.

"Definitely we can spend as much as we get on infrastructure, but we have to live within our means, basically," he said.

Campion said he is also concerned about the $250,000 set aside for reserves - which amounts to one per cent of the tax increase.

"I'm opposed to that," he said. "I don't believe in the concept of creating a surplus this year to use next year. If we need the money next year we should put it on the taxes next year. There's no point in hanging onto $250,000 of taxpayers' dollars and putting it in the bank."

Ward 2 Coun. Barry Sharpe said he's pleased with the efforts city staff and councillors put into the budget, and plans to support it.

"The main reason for me is I think it's important for the city to make a statement in terms of investing in infrastructure renewal," he said.

The provincial government is pitching in its share this year, with a $2.5-million grant to revamp the city's downtown, "and the city needs to show the same kind of financial leadership," he added.

Sharpe was also pleased with the allocation for the first phase of the sports complex, calling it "very important for the long-run health of this city - underline the word health," he said.

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