Advocating for the Town of Lincoln
Advocating for the Town of Lincoln
Town of Lincoln Council and staff continuously advocate to upper levels of government to aid in implementing key programming and policies to support economic growth and prosperity throughout our municipality.
Through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) annual conferences, staff and Members of Council bring forth a variety of initiatives and concerns that impact the Lincoln community. Our goal is to ensure that our priorities are heard and that upper levels of government are kept informed on Lincoln’s priorities.
On behalf of Lincoln’s residents and businesses, the Town is happy to share the following policy and programming suggestions to candidates for the Provincial Election being held on June 2nd, 2022. We will be providing this useful web page to those seeking provincial office to ensure Lincoln’s voice is heard, as well as a trusted source for residents of Lincoln when engaging with the various candidates.
West Lincoln Memorial Hospital
The Town of Lincoln and West Niagara Municipalities have successfully advocated to the Region of Niagara and the Province of Ontario for funding for the development of the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH). The new WLMH will directly support 300+ full time staff, 200+ full-time jobs during construction, and a brand-new clinical facility for West Niagara and surrounding residents.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the gaps in healthcare during times of high capacity. As we look to a post pandemic environment, the Town of Lincoln wants to ensure that our healthcare system is modern and sufficient for the needs of West Niagara and our growing population.
The Town of Lincoln is advocating for:
- Continued support to ensure the new hospital matches the needs of our community and all the residents of West Niagara; this includes a speedy construction timeline and planning for future generations.
Bounded by the Greenbelt and the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Town of Lincoln is home to some of the strictest land-use policies in Ontario. While we support the preservation of our rural and agricultural areas, the Town of Lincoln’s Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, as well as our Tourism Strategy, identifies agriculture and value-added agriculture, revolving around our tourism and craft beverage sectors, as being Lincoln’s greatest opportunity for economic growth. Through enhanced policy interpretations and further diversification of on-farm diversified uses, the Town can support increased accommodations, tourism attractions and overall economic development and job creation in our community.
The tourism and hospitality industry were undoubtedly hard hit by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health restrictions. Many of Lincoln’s tourism operators were forced to adopt new technologies and innovative practices to remain open and serve their customers. Further on-farm diversified uses, such as short-term accommodations, will promote economic recovery and job creation.
The Town of Lincoln is advocating for:
Ongoing financial support for Lincoln’s tourism and hospitality sector to support economic recovery
Allow for additional on-farm diversified uses in the Greenbelt and Niagara Escarpment Plan to allow innovative thinking around tourism offerings, such as short-term accommodations; flexibility in land-use policies for existing agriculture operations will help promote economic activity
Clean Lakes & Shoreline Protection
The Town of Lincoln, which consists of 16KM of Lake Ontario shoreline, prioritizes the maintenance and preservation of our shoreline and beachfront. As a result of high-water levels and isolated flooding during the Spring of 2017 and 2019, sections of the Town’s shoreline roads and beachfront have deteriorated and eroded. This has resulted in significant damage to both the road surface and foundation.
We aim to continue working with our provincial partners at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, and with our local agricultural community, to ensure the protection of our waterways and the Great Lakes are forefront in our collective activities.
Municipalities are at the front line responding to the impacts of Climate Change, but without more funding they can’t adapt. To address this, we’re seeking greater coordination across all levels of government, while continuing to advocate for sustained funding from the provincial government:
- Improvements to provincial regulations to promote green infrastructure/low-impact development on public and private property
- The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund
- The National Disaster Mitigation Program
- Increased funding opportunities for green infrastructure/low-impact development installations
- Increased funding opportunities that are accessible to small and/or rural municipalities (ex. allocated funding for small and/or rural municipalities; additional contributions for projects in small and/or rural municipalities; and modified project criteria such as project readiness, feasibility, program timelines etc.)
- Green infrastructure/Low-impact development grants, rebates, subsidizes and other financial support available to residents and private-property owners
Parks, Recreation, Sport and Culture Investments
The pandemic has resulted in unprecedented and devastating impacts to the parks, recreation, sport, and culture sectors resulting in a ‘triple threat’ of health, economic and social crises in the province. Over the last two years, Lincoln residents have lived through the challenges brought on by the pandemic and it has become clear how important public spaces and community programming are to overall well-being. Municipalities pivoted away from traditional indoor programming towards the use of green spaces, parks, and trails. Additionally, municipalities were forced to close or significantly reduce their capacity to abide by public health mandates. This posed serious financial consequences that have made a return to pre-pandemic service levels particularly difficult in small, rural communities, such as Lincoln.
The Town commends the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario on its ongoing investments through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s Community, Culture, and Recreation Stream. Equally as important, are investments to address the challenges of innovating to make communities safer and more resilient. There are specific funding challenges related to the following issues:
- Engaging people more effectively in green spaces, trails, and parks. Connecting with communities outdoors can combat social isolation and help deliver programs that were traditionally offered indoors. This involves funding allocations for the development of hard infrastructure costs, staff wage subsidies and nominal equipment costs.
- Making public and open spaces more accessible and inclusive year-round. As more people gravitate to public and open spaces, there must be a fundamental shift in how these spaces are designed, operated, and managed. This not only involves upgrades and enhancements to existing infrastructure but changes to how these spaces are planned for, maintained, operated, and activated to ensure that they are accessible and inclusive for all users.
- Investing in arts, culture, and heritage. Continued support for the reopening and recovery of arts, culture, and heritage activities. This includes enhanced funding to support community museums in their delivery of safe, in-person experiences and events to draw visitors to Lincoln and promote economic development through cultural tourism.
These investments will ensure that all Lincoln residents, regardless of where they live in the community, will have consistent access to high quality public spaces and programming that contribute to their overall health and well-being.
Protecting the Greenbelt
More than a third of Lincoln is within the Specialty Crop Area as defined by Ontario’s Greenbelt Plan. This designation is in recognition that large areas of Lincoln have some of the most productive farmland in the country, and that is it is one of few areas within Canada that is able to grow tender fruits such as apples, grapes, peaches, among others. In addition to its unique climatic and soil conditions, the proximity to one of the country’s largest urban areas provides a unique opportunity to reduce the need for importing tender fruits from abroad, support local farmers, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting Lincoln’s specialty crop lands from urban development pressures is of the utmost importance considering how valuable and irreplaceable these farming areas are.
The Town commends the provincial government on continuing to restrict urban development in the specialty crop lands through its various planning policies.
To further support efforts in protecting Lincoln’s tender fruit and grapes growing area the Town is requesting the following:
- Focusing Growth within the Urban Boundary. The Town is requesting that other than minor technical adjustments to urban boundaries (for example where Greenbelt boundary bisects a given property), the existing urban boundaries within the Town remain in place. The objective is to support and maintain the agricultural land base and viability of the Town while providing for sufficient lands to accommodate residential growth and intensification. The Town also requests support in accommodating growth within its urban boundaries through funding of initiatives such as park space enhancement, climate change adaptation / green infrastructure investment and smart growth to contribute to provision of complete communities. Being able to construct more housing within the existing urban areas is instrumental in reducing the amount of agricultural land needed for new developments both here and elsewhere in Niagara and across the province.
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