The appointment marks Bradley's second term in office.
Jim Bradley will serve another term as Regional Council Chair in Niagara.
The St. Catharines councilor was re-appointed earlier today.
During a meeting this afternoon, Chair Bradley delivered the following address:
"Good afternoon Councilors - it is my distinct pleasure and honour to welcome you to the inaugural meeting of Regional Council for the 2022 - 2026 term.
I want to start by welcoming the friends and family members of Regional Councillors who are joining us today in person and those watching from home. There is no doubt that each of you is understandably proud of the remarkable accomplishment of your loved ones - only a small number of individuals will ever have the privilege of serving their community through public office and it is a sign of deep commitment to the community and their constituents.
There will be times during this term that those in this room will look to you for support as the weight of public office comes to bare. I know I speak for all of Council when I express our thanks for that support. I assure you that those in public office cannot serve their constituents without the love of our friends and family.
While it is true that no two terms of council are identical, I do not think it is an understatement to suggest that the previous term was unprecedented. Looking at the future, and the number of changes that have come our way in just the last few weeks, it is fair to say this council will face many unique challenges that we will overcome and opportunities we will take advantage of.
I want to assure this council, and the people of Niagara, that my first obligation is to the residents and businesses of our region, as well as my council colleagues. I know I join with all of you in expressing my steadfast commitment to our community and to the betterment of the entire region.
With the introduction of Bill 39 it is clear that the Government of Ontario is going to be aggressive in their approach to addressing the housing crisis. I know we share the same concerns as the government, and we want to ensure everyone can find an attainable place to live.
While there is a great deal of uncertainty about what the future holds, I am looking forward to getting to work with the provincial facilitator in an effort to build more homes and find efficiencies across Niagara. You have my commitment, in this moment and on the record, that councillors will be kept apprised in regard to any major actions with the facilitator – we are a team, and we are equals and I value each of your opinions and points of view.
As we move forward through this process, I think we should work to strike a balance between keeping a truly open mind about how we may better position municipal services in the region and protecting what makes Niagara truly unique and special in the province.
Given the extraordinary times we find ourselves in, I think we have to adapt and govern ourselves accordingly. While I have always had the utmost respect for each of you in this chamber, and the diverse opinions you bring forward in representing your constituents, I think collaboration is most important.
Starting tomorrow, invites will be sent to each of you to attend a one-on-one meeting with me. It is my hope that we will have open and frank discussions that will lead us to setting a new tone for this term. A tone of enhanced cooperation, collaboration and teamwork.
It is my desire to capitalize on the spirit of openness that is being carried forward and find new ways of working together more closely. But communication between yourselves and my office does not stop with the completion of these formal meetings - instead, I see it as a starting point.
I want to remind each of you that my door is always open to members of council. I both invite and encourage you to share your ideas, concerns and criticisms with me anytime. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly, or to a member of my staff, to share your views. I encourage you to be timely with your communications - it is my hope that real time feedback will be a defining attribute of this term.
While interactions with the provincial facilitator will clearly be a priority, I know that each of you was elected with a platform of ideas about what should be accomplished over the next four years.
During our one-on-one meetings I will be eager to learn about your priorities as well as discuss building a plan together that we all can be proud of. A plan that we will direct staff to execute on, and ultimately, this will be a plan that will make Niagara a better place to live and a better place to do business.
As we think of our priorities, I am eager to start moving forward in a few key areas. It goes without saying that housing, both affordable and attainable, will be a central focus of this term. As the facilitator goes about their business, I believe there is progress that can still be made - I look forward to sharing those details with you in the coming days and weeks.
I also believe it is clear that we need to place a larger focus on shared services between the Region and the 12 local municipalities. We saw a lot of success through the pandemic and the transit amalgamation and learned a lot about how we can all better work together. I am eager to start making headway on other shared services - with some creativity, hard work and tenacity I believe there are many opportunities that we can take advantage of.
Finally, I doubt few in this room would argue with the importance of health care in Niagara. Given our significant investment in our local health care system over the past few years, and the incredible assets that will come with it, I believe it is the opportune time to take advantage of the new hospitals and reposition ourselves as a health care hub. Not only will this be to the benefit of the health of our residents, it will also serve to bolster our economy by creating high-paying jobs of the future.
It is my hope that council will join with me in supporting these three key priorities, in addition to the many others we will discuss in the coming weeks.
In closing, I want to end my remarks today by talking about what is possible. As we look to the future, I see nothing but possibilities. For the next four years, I am singularly focused on what is possible instead of the barriers to our success.
During the last term, the pandemic brought us unprecedented challenges. I know that this new term of council will continue to build upon the spirit of success from the last four years and join me in focusing on what is possible.
I believe Niagara is at a pivotal moment and each of us in this chamber has been trusted with the responsibility to make decisions that will help build a better community and solve some of the most significant problems in our Region.
This is a privilege and honour that we should never take lightly. Over the next four years we will have the opportunity to create public policy that will help propel Niagara forward. I know that each of you is ready to take on this challenge and eager to get to work.
As we move forward, I challenge you to see opportunity and possibility instead of insurmountable problems. Far too often we can find ourselves focusing almost entirely on the negative at the expense of what is possible. I invite you to build stronger relationships with each other instead of concentrating on our differences. We will not always agree, but we must always remember that everyone is here for the same reason: to serve the public.
I encourage you to view our differences and diverse opinions as a strength to be utilized instead of a weakness to protect against.
I implore you to remember that engagement with the public did not end with the election. I encourage you to reach out to your constituents and test your assumptions - seek feedback and ask for ideas whenever possible.
Finally, instead of seeing a world of overwhelming complexities, I want each of us, as a team, to negotiate and navigate these problems together. I am certain that with enough creativity and compassion we can find solutions that are built on understanding, compromise and negotiation.
As Regional Chair, I look forward to working with each of you to find ways to accomplish your goals and help make Niagara the very best it can be."