A letter writer from Port Colborne does not trust us Northies to govern responsibly with our population majority:
To formalize the institution as a single elected body, with a majority based in communities in the north of Niagara, whilst condemning those communities in the south to a perpetual minority and with no say as recognizable and different individual communities can only lead to those already seen to be without proper representation losing even that marginalized representation.
In all honesty, I can’t imagine what pressing issues face Port Colborne which aren’t faced by other stagnating, Southern-tier municipalities. It doesn’t seem to me like a very high-maintenance community to govern, but maybe that opinion is indictment enough in the eyes of people from Port Colborne.
The reality is that any marginally democratic arrangement of this new (and so far, hypothetical) City of Niagara would leave Port Colborne in the minority. There just aren’t enough people living in it – or Fort Erie, or Thorold, or any other smallish city – to throw much weight around at council.
To the writer’s claim that north Niagara would be able to use its dastardly majority to crush Port Colborne, it really depends where you draw the line between “north” and “south.” From my point of view in St Catharines, the escarpment is a natural place to divide Niagara, but if that is the case the north is actually slightly outnumbered, 45 to 55.
What should really worry the people of Port Colborne is if the big three – St Catharines, Niagara Falls, and Welland – are able to stop bickering over hospitals and police headquarters long enough to implement mutally beneficial big-city policies. They really do have a majority, and although cooperation seems far-fetched today, it is the only way Niagara is going to get ahead in the new economy.
The future of this region – the focus of growth, activity, and challenges – will not, for most people, be in Port Colborne or any other small centre. This should be reflected in the structure of a City of Niagara.