WALTER’S PRIORITIES

ECONOMIC PROSPERITY FOR EVERY ONE

We must focus on building a city where good jobs are available for every one.

We have built a lot of momentum over the past four years. We have worked with private sector, new entrepreneurs, Brock University and Niagara College and business organizations to create the environment that is expanding and diversifying our economy.

The City has its first ever Economic Development Strategic Plan with goals and objectives that will be achieved. It’s a bold economic plan that positions St. Catharines as a city that has become a 21st century community. The plan is focused on building on our economic strengths and diversifying our economy to ensure we have jobs and opportunities for every one.

We had a record number of building permits issued by the City in 2017. We have created a Project Expeditor position to facilitate development across the city. This position has made it more efficient and effective to build major projects in St. Catharines. The city is growing.

The National Bank of Canada ranked our regional economy as the second strongest in the country.

We have worked to reduce property tax increases to the rate of inflation at the same time as providing an infrastructure levy to ensure that we have the funds to replace our aging infrastructure.

Walter has worked with CEOs, directors, entrepreneurs, small business owners and builders to create a city that is open for business.

Moving forward, Walter will continue to focus on working with business, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Niagara Industrial Association, Niagara Workforce Planning Board, Brock University and Niagara College to further the growth of economy in ways that benefits every one.

AN AFFORDABLE CITY FOR EVERY ONE

With the growth of the economy and increased attraction of people wanting to call St. Catharines home, the affordability of living in St. Catharines has dramatically risen. As our city grows and prospers, we need to ensure that we remain affordable for every one.

As Mayor, Walter has advocated and led the development of affordable housing projects in the city. As a member of the Niagara Regional Housing Board, he helped secure the first NRH apartment complex built in the city since 1977. This will provide more than 100 units for those looking for affordable housing.

Walter also worked with PenTerra and Bethlehem Housing to build a 120-unit affordable housing complex in downtown St. Catharines. He is looking forward to working further with PenTerra and other developers to address Niagara’s housing waiting list which is over 10,000 people representing more than 5,000 families.

The City also has a Housing Action Plan developed during this term of Council. It features innovative and sustainable solutions to create a sustainable mix of housing in our city. This includes creating a $1 million Community Investment Program designed to create incentives for developers to build more affordable units throughout the city.

This term of Council also focused on reducing the overall tax burden on residents and businesses. Council set a target of rate of inflation increases for property taxes and achieved that target in 2017. This was achieved by working with staff to focus spending and generate savings through better efficiencies of operations. We are fiscally responsible and we have developed sound financial polices to ensure your tax dollars are wisely invested in our community.

We have ensured that your water rates remain affordable. We continue to invest to keep your water safe and at the same time we are focused on keeping your water rates among the lowest in Niagara.

Moving forward Walter will continue to focus on keeping St. Catharines affordable for every one. St. Catharines is an amazing place to call home and we want to ensure everybody to have an opportunity to live in a safe and secure home.


COMPASSIONATE CITY

Compassion is the powerful outcome when we combine CARE + ACTION. A compassionate city is a vibrant and prosperous city with opportunity for all of its residents.

Walter launched the Compassionate City initiative in 2015. After attending a national poverty summit in Ottawa, he worked with a group of community leaders to develop a project that would produce real results for poverty reduction in the City.

Since launching the Compassionate City initiative, Walter has engaged faith groups, community organizations, social agencies and businesses to embrace and create action to support the concept. Its concept is simple – it’s about the lens that we use to look at others in our community. It’s about changing how we look at poverty, mental illness and addictions in our community.

It’s about seeing our community as a circle and everyone belongs inside the circle of community.

Through this lens, Council has supported increased affordable housing, the development of an integrated inter municipal transit system and a safe consumption site for those battling addictions.

Walter has also spoke at national poverty summits in Edmonton, Hamilton and Niagara Falls, New York about Compassionate City.

Moving forward, Walter is focused on reducing homelessness, fighting the opioids epidemic and creating better access for mental health services in St. Catharines.

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE & RESILIENT CITY

Climate change is real and it’s having an impact on our community. From floods to excessive cold and heat to significant storms, we have to build a climate resilient community and push back at the causes of climate change. We owe it to future generations.

This term of Council, we invested significantly more into our urban forest. We have partnered with companies like IKEA to plant more trees in our parks. We have also developed a free tree giveaway for our residents that has been very successful. We have a target of 30% urban forest in St. Catharines and in the last four years we have moved closer to our target.

We have also invested in our parks to build more naturalized gardens to attract butterflies, bees and other insects that are needed for a healthy ecosystem. We were recognized for our efforts by becoming a Bee City in 2017.

As Mayor, I signed the Chicago Charter in Chicago with mayors from across North America. Cities are engaged and ready to take decisive action on climate change. Our pledge includes investing in public transit systems to reduce the carbon footprint; providing safe public transportation and accessible land use; accelerating affordable renewable energy access; and reducing the carbon footprint in new and existing public and private buildings and infrastructure.

Cities are on the front lines of facing the impacts of climate change, we need to be the ones leading the fight. Building a sustainable and resilient St. Catharines is a must.

INVESTING IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOODS

We are a community of neighbourhoods. From Old Port Dalhousie to Western Hill to Glenridge to Merritton and so many places in between – our home is the street we live on, the parks that our kids play in and community centres that we gather to spend time with friends.

This term of Council, we focused on investing in neighbourhoods across the city. We built new, accessible play grounds, we opened new splash pads at West Park and Port Weller. We breathed new life into Lakeside Park. We invested in our community and senior centres. From basketball courts to tennis courts, investments were made where families spend their quality time.

These investments in our parks and neighbourhoods were long overdue.

Moving forward, Walter will continue to advocate for park renewal, accessible playgrounds and safe places for kids to play sports.

m jWalter’s Priorities