West Lincoln Advocates for Provincial Funding at 2023 ROMA Conference

For Immediate Release: January 25, 2023

West Lincoln was well represented at the 2023 Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference, held in Toronto from January 22 to 24, 2023. Mayor Cheryl Ganann, Councillor Joann Chechalk, Councillor William Reilly, Regional Councillor Albert Witteveen and CAO Bev Hendry participated in three delegations with members of the Provincial Government, advocating for funding to support climate change resources, infrastructure, and the transition to Next Generation 911 services.

West Lincoln Mayor Cheryl Ganann and Treasurer/Director of Finance Donna DeFilippis also represented the Township on a panel session titled Asset Management for Better Outcomes: Strengthening Council Decision-Making that explored the challenges municipalities face in implementing asset management.

Climate Change Resources

Township Representatives partnered with Niagara-on-the-Lake Deputy Lord Mayor Erwin Wiens, Councillor Gary Burroughs, CAO Marnie Cluckie, Director of Operations Rome D’Angelo, Manager of Public Works Darren MacKenzie, and Town Clerk/Manager of Legislative Services Victoria Steele in a joint delegation with Todd Smith, Minister of Energy, to discuss the pressures and competing demands placed on rural municipalities to meet demands of adapting and mitigating Climate Change and Energy Conservation & Demand Management (ECDM) Plans. West Niagara MPP Sam Oosterhoff was also in attendance.

Municipalities have influence over roughly 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada; however, rural municipalities are struggling to meet the demands of adaptation and mitigation climate change plans due to insufficient resources with the appropriate skillsets.

ECDM Plans are a top priority to control energy use and utility costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adopt green building and green procurement policies, and leverage opportunities to achieve short- and long-term environmental sustainability and climate change objectives. Without dedicated resources, rural municipalities find it challenging to meet the provincial requirements to maintain and deliver on the current ECDM Plan and update it every five years as required.

The Township of West Lincoln approved a Plan to Mitigate Environmental Impacts (2020 – 2025) in November 2020. This work was completed with assistance from the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program and administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake approved a Climate Change Adaptation Plan in March 2022. This was completed in partnerships with Niagara Adapts, a joint program with the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at Brock University. However, West Lincoln and Niagara-on-the-Lake are two of the many rural municipalities struggling to implement, deliver and maintain their Plans because of limited resources and competing demands.

Together, the Township of West Lincoln and Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake requested that the Province implement a grant program, providing funding for ECDM and Climate Change resources (similar to the Municipalities for Climate Innovation delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in 2017).

Discussions with the Minister of Energy went well. Representatives advocated well for their communities and felt that their concerns were heard. The municipalities will continue to collaborate for additional support and investigate opportunities that may already be available.


Township representatives met with Amarjot Sandhu, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure, to request that financial support be increased to address Asset Replacement Plan funding deficits.

The Township met the Province’s July 1, 2022, deadline outlined in its Municipal Asset Management Planning Regulation (O.Reg. 588/2017), which required all Municipal governments to have an approved Asset Management Plan for core assets (roads, bridges and culverts, water, wastewater and stormwater) that discussed current levels of service and the cost of maintaining those services.

Continuous development of the Township’s Asset Management System, to prepare for additional requirements in 2024 and 2025, has revealed that the Asset Replacement Plan is underfunded to the tune of approximately $1,800 per household. To address this deficit, the Township would need to increase its annual levy by 5 per cent, or $417,600.

Presently, 16 per cent of the Township’s total levy is dedicated to infrastructure reserves that directly fund the Asset Replacement Plan. In addition, approximately $600,000 was transferred into the water and wastewater reserves through user fees.

Furthermore, recent changes being contemplated at the Provincial level seemingly aim to move municipalities away from a traditional model, whereby growth pays for growth, and into a new scenario whereby some costs associated with growth will be funded through a Municipal portion of the levy. This further exacerbates the funding gap by placing the responsibility of funding and maintaining infrastructure associated with growth onto the taxpayer.

Discussions with the Parliamentary Assistant went well. The Township effectively conveyed the lessons learned and gaps identified, and conclusions about what is required to properly implement the Province’s requirements were received.

Next Generation 911

Township representatives met with Solicitor General Michael Kerzner, to discuss the transition to Next Generation 911 services. West Niagara MPP Sam Oosterhoff was also in attendance. This is West Lincoln’s second delegation with the Solicitor General about this issue, the first being at the 2022 AMO Conference in Ottawa.

The Ontario government announced in April 2022 a $208 million investment over three years to modernize Ontario’s 911 system. To successfully transition from analog to digital communications and commence and operate NG-911, further investments will be required in the future.

West Lincoln, being a forward-looking municipality, committed to ensuring the best communications services during an emergency and to supporting the Province in meeting the federally mandated deadline of March 2025. As such, the Township spent $240,000 in 2018 to make sure the implementation happened.

The delegation advocated for the NG-911 Interagency Panel to implement funding at current project costs for municipalities who have already contributed to the initiative as it develops its subsidy proposal schedules.

Discussions with the Solicitor General were very constructive and further emphasized the need for funding. The Minister committed to an ongoing dialogue to understand the Township’s situation and potential funding if costs meet the Province’s criteria.

For notifications and important updates, remember to follow the Township of West Lincoln on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @TWPWestLincoln.


“Our residents can be sure that we will take every opportunity to advocate for the unique needs of our community. I am grateful for the unity demonstrated by our Township Council and Staff, along with our counterparts at the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Overall, I feel optimistic about discussions. I also feel very proud to have joined Treasurer/Director of Finance, Donna DeFilippis, to represent our great Township on a panel session about Asset Management. West Lincoln has made incredible advancements in recent years implementing Asset Management Systems and Procedures, and it was wonderful to be able to help lead a solution-based discussion about our experience.”

Cheryl Ganann


“I want to thank the ROMA Conference for providing the opportunity for us to ensure that our rural municipality has a voice in Provincial decisions. We had another excellent experience meeting with representatives from the Provincial Government. Special thanks also to our Mayor and Councillors, along with our friends and co-delegates from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, for working together for the benefit of both of our great municipalities.”

Bev Hendry

Chief Administrative Officer

Media Contact:

Beth Audet

Communications Specialist