NANCY REYNOLDS/Special to Bullet News
Former Niagara Falls city councillor Volpatti recalls the days of the A and B teams – when city council answered to then-mayor Wayne Thomson and there was a visible council split.
She sees a reincarnation at the regional level.
There are many splits at that address.
A well defined group of long-time regional councilors rarely fail to claim the high ground and condescend to newer, perhaps less entrenched councilors.
They may forget it might take new eyes to see the shaky spots in the structure.
New folks may be less likely to maintain the out-dated status quo.
They might even have warm feelings for burdened taxpayers who finance two layers of municipal governing, seemingly without choice.
They also might be less likely hang onto their council jobs with claw-like ferocity.
Volpatti is new to the regional scene but she owns years of good municipal decision-making at the local level. She was a fine part of the city council A team and regional folks anxious to write her off should beware.
Perhaps she sees that regionalism has never really jelled.
The cracks of parochialism and even party politics are still visible.
Rural communities wander around at the edges of debates on major servicing, some of which they will never have and perhaps don’t want.
They watch decisions that limit or channel their land and their money. This is the urban-rural split.
Then there is the north-south chasm. “St. Catharines gets everything and we all pay for it” is the cry that greeted regional government and still is heard today. Truly the issues that face St. Catharines do not relate in Fort Erie.
Niagara Falls has always been “the other city.” Welland and Thorold had an industrial base. Niagara Falls lives tourism. Once again future directions differ greatly causing one more split.
There was a moment when the province could have forced togetherness on Niagara. At inception they might have removed local councils causing all of Niagara to get it right or perish.
That moment is long gone because today politicians fight to win and to keep their positions.
They have been known to fight with no holds barred.
They campaign dramatically to keep their power base whether or not it serves people best.
Yes, Selina, there is an A team and there is nobody from our town with enough history at the regional table to make the cut – but it doesn’t hurt to try.
You go girl.