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Friday, June 14, 2024
Editorial: Have your say on NOTL’s future
Editorial File

Wrapped around this week’s 28-page edition of The Lake Report is a Special Edition dedicated to informing you, our readers, about the major issues in the Oct. 24 municipal election – and the candidates who are seeking your support.

It is no coincidence that the main headline on page 1 of the 20-page Special Edition is “NOTL votes on its future.”

Those words were chosen very purposefully – because modern-day Niagara-on-the-Lake is indeed at a crossroads and this election gives you, as a voter, the opportunity to have a loud voice in what that future holds.

We are facing unprecedented budget, development and tourism pressures, to name just a few key concerns.

But that doesn’t mean NOTL is about to become another Niagara Falls, with a Clifton Hill-type atmosphere. (That’s fine for the Falls, but Niagara-on-the-Lake deserves to be and must be something special.)

And you have the chance to have your say on Oct. 24.

Immediately inside the 20-page Special Edition on Page S3 you will find an editorial outlining what The Lake Report has identified as some of the important issues facing Niagara-on-the-Lake.

These are our views, for your consideration.

No doubt others can come up with more or have differing ideas about what needs to be done.

That’s fine and a healthy feature of our democratic process.

Regional taxes, development, tourism and short-term rentals are just some of the key concerns from our perspective.

The edition also includes in-depth interviews by columnist Brian Marshall, who spoke to the three mayoral candidates about their views on protecting NOTL’s unique character.

As well, David Israelson offers advice on the big picture surrounding this election.

And Queenston’s Ron Fritz does a deep dive on the idea of a ward system for NOTL, an issue first broached by The Lake Report when the campaign began.

This is all pertinent because the sleepy, laid-back village that many NOTLers wish Niagara-on-the-Lake would return to is no more. It’s 2022 and what some like to call the “good old days” are a distant memory.

What is most important as Niagara-on-the-Lake voters consider who can best serve the town’s needs over the next four, or more, years, is that we all take the time to learn about what the various candidates are offering to do for our fair town.

Getting people to pay attention and to engage with politics at the municipal level is a tough assignment.

Oddly, voter engagement usually is inverse to the relative influence people have over the outcome.

At the federal or provincial level, where voter turnout tends to be higher, your ballot is meaningful, of course. But yours is among tens of thousands of votes cast in a riding and you’re electing a representative who is a member of a political party that may (or may not) form the government.

Your say in what happens in the future is not nearly as direct as it is when voting for lord mayor or town council or school board. It’s not glamorous, but it is deeply meaningful.

It’s often said that all politics is local and frankly that is most true at the municipal level, where a few thousand votes are cast and you have a very real chance to influence the outcome.

We would argue the best way to do so is to be informed, engaged and interested. Read, listen to and speak to the people campaigning for your vote. Cut through the noise and chatter.

That’s one of the main reasons why we produced our Election 2022: Special Edition. It offered candidates the chance to advertise their positions, and in their own words, speak about what they think is important to NOTL and its future.

Almost every candidate chose to be part of the Special Edition, though a few declined mainly because they had reached their campaign spending limit.

So, please, take the time, get informed, but above all, vote.

Monday, Oct. 24, is your best chance to have your say about NOTL and its future.

 

 

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