Township of West Lincoln


West Lincoln Champions Big-Ticket Priorities at 2022 AMO Conference

For Immediate Release: August 17, 2022

Representatives from West Lincoln attended the 2022 AMO Conference, hosted by the City of Ottawa from August 14 to 17, 2022, advocating for support on big-ticket priorities through five delegations with members of the Provincial Government.

Delegations focused on the transition to Next Generation 911 services, abandoned operating cemeteries, the long-standing Joint and Several Liability issue, invasive species in local watercourses and the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

Next Generation 911

West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, Councillor Cheryl Ganann, Councillor William Reilly, Regional Councillor Albert Witteveen and CAO Bev Hendry met with Solicitor General Michael Kerzner, to discuss the transition to Next Generation 911 services.

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 is 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 made contributions in 2018 and 2019 ($226,974.15 and $12,385.21 respectively).

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 went well. West Lincoln’s line of reasoning that early action should not be penalized was well made and well received. West Lincoln representatives are hopeful that this will be considered in the funding formula for the new grant management.

Abandoned Operating Cemeteries

West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, Councillor Cheryl Ganann, Councillor William Reilly, Regional Councillor Albert Witteveen and CAO Bev Hendry joined Niagara-on-the-Lake Councillor Erwin Wiens and Director of Operations Kevin Turcotte and Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton and CAO Mike KirKopoulos in a joint delegation with Kaleed Rasheed, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, to discuss abandoned operating cemeteries.

Currently, when municipalities take over management of abandoned, closed or neglected cemeteries, they must acquire ownership of the land, bring it into compliance with legislation and liability requirements and cover annual maintenance costs. This burden is often exacerbated when the cemeteries have little-to-no trust fund or revenue opportunities and incomplete or even non-existent records of burial.

The delegation advocated for Government action, specifically that the Province develop a program to properly fund costs associated with taking over and maintaining a cemetery, change legislation to provide relief to rural municipalities that cannot bear the costs downloaded to overburdened taxpayers, and allow municipalities the opportunity to choose whether there is any historical/cultural significance justifying taking it over.

The discussion revealed that West Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Lincoln were not the only municipalities advocating for assistance from the province on this issue. Representatives recommended that they cost share on monument maintenance, understand and address the tax burden that arises when cemeteries are abandoned, and also recognize the importance of protecting the significant historical records that are at risk.

Joint and Several Liability

West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, Councillor Cheryl Ganann, Councillor William Reilly, Regional Councillor Albert Witteveen and CAO Bev Hendry met with Doug Downey, Attorney General, to discuss the long-standing issue of Joint and Several Liability.

Currently, Joint and Several Liability (“The 1% Rule”) unfairly burdens Ontario municipalities, who are seen as deep-pocketed defendants in lawsuits. As a result, municipal insurance premiums continue to skyrocket. This diverts municipal funds from other essential services and programs, and forces Councils to raise property taxes. Ontario Municipalities have been faced with double digit insurance premium increases in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The delegation advocated for continued advancement of the Province’s plans to fix this issue, and prioritize its reviews, findings and recommendations. This is the second time the Township has met with the Attorney General about Joint and Several Liability, the first being at the 2021 AMO Conference.

It was another good discussion with the Attorney General and his team, not only about Joint and Several Liability but also other insurance matters. West Lincoln representatives were informed that these matters continue to be reviewed.

Invasive Species in Local Watercourses

West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, Councillor Cheryl Ganann, Councillor William Reilly, Regional Councillor Albert Witteveen and CAO Bev Hendry joined Welland Mayor Frank Campion and Directory of Community Services Rob Axiak in a joint delegation with Ric Bresee, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. This delegation was also supported by the Town of Pelham and Township of Wainfleet.

The delegation advocated for the Province to support efforts to contain the spread of invasive species within local watercourses, such as efforts being made by the Invasive Species Centre to control the spread of the European Water Chestnut within the Welland River, and to protect our waterways for biodiversity and recreational uses.

Representatives provided key information about the new invasive species along with efforts made to date. The recommendation that this issue be raised with the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes and the request for support to deal with this early to hopefully remove it from the waterways were well received.

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital

West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, Councillor Cheryl Ganann, Councillor William Reilly and Regional Councillor Albert Witteveen joined Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton and CAO Mike Kirkopoulos and Grimsby Councillor Kevin Ritchie, Councillor Dave Sharpe, Councillor Lianne Vardy, CAO Harry Schlange and Director of Recreation, Facilities and Culture Sarah Sweeney for a joint delegation with Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier/Minister of Health.

This delegation served as a great opportunity for Niagara West representatives to meet and build a relationship with the Minister and to reiterate their gratitude for supporting the redevelopment of the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital and investing $285,000 in McNally House Hospice.

McNally House’s current six-bed hospice is embarking on a significant expansion that will add a day hospice program plus 10 more beds to serve the community. A new two-storey building is also proposed.

Construction of the new hospital broke ground in April 2022, and is expected to be completed by February 2025, with full occupancy by June 2025.

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


“I am proud to say that West Lincoln was well represented this week. Discussions with members of the Provincial Government were very positive and all of our delegations were well received. I am optimistic that our efforts on behalf of West Lincoln residents will prove to be fruitful and that support for these important priorities is just over the horizon.”

Dave Bylsma


“It was great to once again be able to meet in person for this year’s AMO Conference. Discussions were productive and I am pleased with the progress we are making on these big-ticket items. I want to thank our Mayor and Councillors, along with our friends and co-delegates from the Town of Grimsby, the Town of Lincoln, the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the City of Welland, for working together for the benefit of all of our great Municipalities.”

Bev Hendry

Chief Administrative Officer

Media Contact:

Beth Audet

Communications Specialist