A brouhaha brewing last month between the three municipalities represented on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, has been averted for now.
The NPCA, with representatives from Haldimand, Hamilton and Niagara, spent most of its last term mired in controversy. Hamilton had been slapped with increased levies to howls of dismay and it had been alleged the Board was not following proper procedures.
Rob Shirton, Haldimand’s sole member on the last term, told council in December that the term had been very challenging, although he personally felt they were doing things well.
“People left and it became basically a whole new Board,” Shirton said.
The province reacted to the controversy and set a new representation based on population for this current term. Haldimand became entitled to two representatives, four for Hamilton and a huge reduction for Niagara region from 12, to five.
Predictably this raised a ruckus in Niagara, who noted the last representation included members from each of its lower tier municipalities rather than just the upper tier.
“Never have I entered an appointment with such concern and trepidation,” said Haldimand Councillor Bernie Corbett of his appointment along with Shirton this term.
“Hamilton was forced to belly up to the trough and pay the amount.”
For now, Niagara, Hamilton and Haldimand have come to a collective decision of a larger NPCA board of 18 members with two for Haldimand, four for Hamilton and 12 for Niagara.
This comes with the proviso that any one municipality can challenge the board’s composition at a future date. If that happens and an agreement cannot be reached, the decision will be ultimately be turned over to a judge or provincial minister.
Let’s hope they all learn to play nicely in the sandbox.