After Many Months of Council Debate and Lobbying by Citizens Across Niagara, “Option 3C” – Offering More Robust Protection for Niagara’s Natural Environment – Is Approved
“I think (passing Option 3C) really represents putting our environment first in terms of our planning. What an amazing legacy we can leave for generations to come.” – Diana Husson, Regional Councillor for Pelham and Chair of Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee
A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted December 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large
“We don’t want to be singing; ‘They paved paradise, put up a parking lot’,” said St. Catharines Regional Councillor George Darte as he tabled a motion at the Region’s December 1st’ Committee of the Whole meeting in support of including Option 3C – a stronger set of measures for protecting Niagara’s natural environment – in an Official Plan that will guide urban growth for years to come.
“What we are about to vote on tonight is forever, it is for eternity,” continued Darte. “What we are being asked to do tonight is to help decide the fate of our dear Mother Earth.”
“We need to give the next hundreds of generations ….and our successors a chance to survive on this planet. We owe it to them and that can be our legacy as one seemingly significant bunch of councillors,” Darte said.
Following those words, every regional councillor, including municipal mayors, present for the meeting, voted in favour of Option 3C, even those who voted no to the option in the past.
Missing from the meeting were some of the naysayers from past debates on the option, including Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, Niagara Falls Regional Councillors Bob Gale and Peter Nicholson, Welland Regional Councillor Leanna Villella, West Lincoln Regional Councillor Albert Witteveen and Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele.
We need to think of the next hundreds of generations and not just the here and now,” continued Darte.
Earlier in the meeting Regional Councillors heard from delegations of citizens from municipalities across Niagara who each, in their turn, made a detailed and passionate case for choosing the strongest measures possible to protect and preserve what we have left of our natural resources.
Among the delegates was Liz Benneian, a Town of Lincoln resident and a leader of a coalition of individuals and citizen-based nature and conservation groups across the region called Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara – a group that has been campaigning hard for the passage of Option 3C.
The unanimous support for the option at the December 1st Committee of the Whole meeting “is a tribute to the power of citizen advocacy,” said Benneian in a message she circulated to coalition members later.
Here is the full roaster of citizens who spoke in favour of Option 3C at the Regional meeting –
Mike Kraft, Resident, City of St. Catharines, Liz Benneian, Resident, Town of Lincoln, Annette Gibbons, Resident, Town of Grimsby, Colleen Kenyon, Resident, Town of Pelham, Susan Murphy, Resident, Town of Lincoln, Ellen Qualls, Resident, Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Dahlia Steinberg, Resident, City of St. Catharines, Dr. David Nicholson, Resident, Town of Pelham
As this reporter listened to them make their case to Regional Councillors, I could not help but think that we need more people like this running for a seat at the Regional or local level in next year’s municipal elections.
To watch the meeting and the excellent delegations from citizens across Niagara who went before the council and spoke up for Option 3C, click on – https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/council/council-meetings.aspx?q=Committee+of+the+Whole
Niagara At Large will be doing more analysis on the debate and the decision made here, and on what it means for the future in the days ahead. Stay Tuned.
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