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Sep. 25, 2020 | Friday
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Worried about pending amalgamation, mayor wants NOTL official plan expedited
Lord Mayor Betty Disero wants the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake to move forward with a new official plan.(Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

The town has to be ready with a new official plan in case the province approves regional amalgamation, Lord Mayor Betty Disero says.

“I need you to hear frustration in my voice,” Disero told NOTL councillors on Monday.

“I fear that we will go to the table … without an official plan.”

With the updated official plan and if the province decides to move forward with the amalgamation, the town will know its priorities – such as heritage, wineries and farming communities – and will ensure that the town’s non-unionized staff employees receive “fair and equitable” treatment, said Disero.

The current official plan was adopted in 1994 and has undergone several updates over the years with the first review of the official plan starting in 2002.

The Ontario government is in the midst of a review of the province’s eight regional municipalities, including Niagara. That review could result in amalgamations across Ontario. There are also 82 lower-tier municipalities within those eight regions.

With a government announcement expected before the fall, the town needs to endorse the new plan and send it to the Region of Niagara, even without the region’s or the province’s comments, said Disero.

Director of community and development services Craig Larmour said he would check if the planning consultants who are developing the new plan are available for a special session. 

A motion was then passed for town staff to plan a special meeting with the consultants to work on finalizing the plan. Once it is done and endorsed by the council, it will be sent to the region.