Veteran Regional Councillor Bruce Timms Declares Candidacy For Niagara Region’s Top Job

By Doug Draper

Bruce Timms, a veteran St. Catharines regional councillor, has thrown his hat in the ring for Niagara Region’s top political job.

St. Catharines regional councillor Bruce Timms delares for regional chair's job

Timms is also a native of Port Colborne – born in the hospital in that community that the Niagara Health System has been systematically shut down – and he promises, as regional chair, to keep the interests and concerns of people in Niagara’s central and south end fully in mind.

“I was born in Port Colborne and grew up working in Welland, … so I can bring a regional perspective to the job that few others can beat.”

On the subject of amalgamation, Timms told NAL he’s more focused on amalgamating services like water and wastewater on behalf of taxpayers than he is on amalgamating municipalities. At the same time, he strongly favours reforming regional government in ways he feels would have the Region and 12 municipalities working more closely together on matters of common concern and interest. (NAL is including below a recent comment Timms made to another story on this site that outlines his vision for regional reform.).

During his 19 years on council, Timms has served as chair of the Region’s Public Health Committee, chair of the committee developing and maintaining the Greater Niagara Circle Route, and as a board member for Niagara Regional Housing. He has had a record of supporting the need for a regional transit system in Niagara, expanding Go Rail services here and of standing up to the Niagara Regional Police Board around soaring policing costs he feels have become unsustainable for local taxpayers. He has also been a strong supporter of heritage sites in Niagara and has been lobbying for the remnants of the old Welland Canals to be declared a national historic site in much the same way the remnants of the Erie Canal system have in New York State.

In an interview with NAL, Timms said he knows that if regional councillors elect him to the chair’s seat on December 9, he would be the second chair in a row (following Peter Partington) that comes from St. Catharines. That being said, he promised he would serve the interests and concerns of all residents in Niagara, north, south, east and west.

Along with Pelham regional councillor Brian Baty, Timms may be contesting the regional chair’s position with newly elected Niagara Falls regional councillor and former Mike Harris/Ernie Eves Conservative MPP Bart Maves and outgoing Welland mayor and defeated regional council candidate Damian Goulbourne.

Following is a reprise of Bruce Timms’ comment on regional reform and a copy of his media release, announcing his candidacy for Niagara regional chair.

Comment on Regional Reform

I propose a simple but effective step forward that does not threaten any community, but can achieve efficiencies , reduce duplications and build a common economic development strategy.

Reform Regional Government by replacing the Regional Councillors with City Councillors who sit at the Region and the City, double duty, Councillors will run for the Double duty job. Secondly elect the Regional Chair at large by all the voters in every corner of Niagara. Regional Council becomes a team of mayors and city councillors sitting around a common table with common purpose. This will build communications between the Region and the municipalities, and between municipalities.  Less Two Tier, more Team Niagara.

This would be a productive reform that creates more of a team of 12 and does not threaten members of the team. Halton Region operates this way, Peel, York and Durham Regions are similar, it is a reform that is familiar to the Province. I believe we can achieve this change in time for the next election. We can achieve the triple majority, and then get Provincial approval and finally break the log jam, and take a step forward.


St. Catharines – Bruce Timms will stand for election as Regional Chair in the December 6 election at Regional Council. Councillor Timms topped the polls in St. Catharines on a platform of Regional Reform.

Bruce Timms campaigned on a reform model that proposes reducing the elected representatives for St Catharines from 18 to 12, calls for 6 City councillors to do double duty, City and Region, and retains 6 ward councillors to create a final total St, Catharines City council of 12. The Halton Region model Timms supports also calls for a Region-wide public vote for Regional Chair.

“The Region needs a Chair with a public mandate to lead Regional Council. We need a Chairman that will stand up for the taxpayer on all department budgets, a Chair who will stand up to the Police Board against unreasonable budget demands, all the way to OCCOPS if needed. We cannot afford to back down in the face of the cost of OCCOPS appeals anymore. We cannot afford to let arbitrators ignore the taxpayers’ ability to pay.”

“We need a chair who will lead a reform of government that will draw the 12 municipalities together as a family working together to GROW Niagara. We do not need reform that threatens and divides the communities of Niagara. For Niagara to GROW and prosper, we need a Regional Council that is a true team of Mayors and City Councillors sitting around a common table with a common purpose. Efficiencies, duplications and economic growth can best be found by a team of municipalities working together for their common interests.”

“The St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce has it right when they say the Chair needs to be the best person for the job.  I believe the voting public believes that too.”

(Click on Niagara At Large at for more news and commentary of interest and concern to residents in our greater Niagara region. And by all means, share your comments below on who should serve as Niagara’s next regional chair. Remember that we only post comments by people willing to share their real name.)

5 responses to “Veteran Regional Councillor Bruce Timms Declares Candidacy For Niagara Region’s Top Job

  1. Bruce Timms is a great guy and from my observation of him over the years, far-sighted; he’s exactly the type of person we want to spearhead our Region.

    Niagara has been de-industrialised in the past 35 years – what businesses should we attract for the next 35 years?
    Why has heavy industry left?
    Will tourism survive American border fears after 911?
    Will tourism survive high fuel and electricity costs?
    Bruce is far-sighted, and willing to explore new directions.

    However, as a resident of South Niagara, I dread the idea of electing the Chair at large. It would mean that only the wealthy, or people with rich supporters could afford to conduct a Region-wide campaign. It would also mean that there would be little reason for candidates to spend much time in the small towns & townships, because the election would always be decided by voters in our 3 big cities. Needless to say, I predict that election-at-large won’t be popular in South Niagara.

    And maybe it shouldn’t be a popularity contest, but a reasoned decision by the people most familiar with the person they choose as Chair – our elected Regional Representatives.

    On the other hand, Bruce IS open-minded, and has already started a needed discussion about how to get better value-for-taxes from our local municipalities and Region. He’ll help Regional Council work out a way to streamline things and still protect the boondocks from the cities. Elect him as our Chair.


  2. Bruce Tims has shown remarkable dedication as Regional Councillor, and taken good positions on the issues of regional transit and the extension of our bicycle and hiking trail system. He has also thoughtful suggestions about combining roles of city and regional councillors that deserve attention. Considering all the work he puts into his official duties, if elected, he will finally be making at least the minimum wage for the long hours he puts in!


  3. I hope the members of regional council are reading this. I do like Bruce Timms. He has shown excellent leadership and has advocated strong positions for both transit and sustainability issues, as well as governance reform. I would strongly lean on councillors to select Timms to be our next Regional Chair, which will give the region the tools it needs to hopefully move governance and other issues into the future. Good luck, Bruce!


  4. Bruce is qualified, respected and elected. Do not dimiss Democracy.He is worthy of being duly selected as the next Regional Chair. Good Luck


  5. We of the Southern Tier hope that every candidate for Regional Chair will issue a statement on their position on Health Care for Niagara.
    Unlike the last chair of the Social Service and Health Committee of the Region who claims it is a Provincial issue, it is to be hoped that the new Chair will appreciate how the Hospital “Improvement ” Plan
    has impacted the jobs in Niagara, the Health Services in Niagara and every citizen in Niagara who has to enter the Niagara Health System
    seeking timely care. Millions and millions of Regional taxpayer dollars are expended either directly or indirectly to support the NHS
    It is indeed a Regional issue,,,I think Mr Timms will be a Chair who recognizes the problems created by the NHS are not going away and will lead the way to demand accountability.


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