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Niagara Falls
Saturday, December 2, 2023
Letter: St. Davids voters backed Zalepa, who supports roundabout
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

At a recent meeting of town council designed to address a future shared services model between the town and the region, discussion got deflected into uninformed speculation about whether the residents of St. Davids oppose or support the roundabout proposed to be built by the region in the centre of the village.
Although this is an important intersection of two regional roads affecting most residents of the town, the focus seems to be on the wishes of the villagers.
On the one hand, Coun. Gary Burroughs asserted that “the residents” (some? many? the majority? the vast majority? all?) don’t want it.
Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa countered that, in talking to residents of St. Davids during the last municipal election, he had not encountered massive opposition to the roundabout. Who is correct?
Prior to the election a resident was quoted in local media that “I do not know of anyone who is in favour of the roundabout.”
This is hardly surprising since supporters would be unlikely to go public in such a charged atmosphere. That division is still evident.
In the election for lord mayor, incumbent Betty Disero continued to express her strong opposition to the roundabout.
Candidate Zalepa confirmed his support for the recommendation of the staff of the region that the roundabout was the best solution for that intersection.
Granted, while how one votes in an election can take into account a myriad of factors, there is no doubt that the proposed roundabout was the number one issue for residents of St. Davids.
Who, then, did the voters of St. Davids support? It turns out that Zalepa secured significantly more votes than did Disero.
Politicians, in my view, pay too much attention to vocal opponents, since those in favour are unlikely to step forward, especially in regard to a highly contentious issue.
Since we elect councillors at large, one would hope that those elected would practise leadership rather than followship in making decisions for all of the town.
In the case of the St. Davids roundabout, the ballot box and not the soap box is a far more reliable gauge of the wishes of those residents.
Ron Fritz

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