Niagara-on-the-Lake town councillors, minus three, declared their support for decisions made so far by the town’s emergency group during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lord Mayor Betty Disero asked council to consider ratifying the emergency group’s decisions during Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.
In other words, she asked members of council to retroactively give support and approval to decisions made without votes from councillors.
Council passed the motion, though it was not unanimous as Couns. Clare Cameron, Wendy Cheropita and Gary Burroughs voted against it.
“I don’t myself agree with every decision and action that’s been taken. I don’t feel that I’ve been adequately informed. And so I will not be supporting this,” Cameron told councillors.
Coun. Erwin Wiens said his experience has been the exact opposite. “I’ve been quite regularly informed and brought up to speed,” Wiens said.
“With every decision that has been made I’ve been able to contact the people that are the directors that are in charge of that. And I received excellent information. I thought that the information that was coming, although fast, furious and sometimes overwhelming, was fulsome and complete. So I’ve had the exact opposite. And I will support it.”
Disero said she sent out a document outlining discussions of emergency group meetings for councillors to review.
Cheropita said she had not read the information and therefore couldn’t make a proper decision.
Coun. Norm Arsenault, who supported the approval of emergency group decisions, said he has no problems with the decisions made, but has concerns about continuing the delegated authority to the emergency control group, a team of senior town officials, including the mayor and chief administrator.
“The issues that I have with the delegation of authority. It’s is now going on four months and I have some concern about continuing having two individuals make decisions on behalf of the town.”