Regional council is not very effective in making decisions to carry the Niagara Region into the future, says one of three candidates for Pelham’s regional council seat.
Anthony Annunziata said regional councillors tend to make decisions based on parochial needs and a desire to get re-elected.
What the region needs is a transportation strategy to draw companies and jobs to the region.
Although the region is in an excellent geographic position near the U.S. border, and has a good work force, it lacks a transportation strategy, he said.
On Election Day May 27, Annunziata is competing with incumbent Brian Baty and Jim Inman for Pelham’s one regional councillor position.
Such a transportation strategy would include an airport with connections to major cities, efficient road links the Greater Toronto Area, GO Transit service, one regional transit system, regional roads serving the whole region, and, better railway and Seaway connections, Annunziata said.
“You can’t attract major companies if you don’t have a transportation infrastructure,” he said.
Niagara Region has 12 municipalities with their own council, bylaws and planning departments that create inefficiencies, he said.
“Do we have to have 12 municipalities each with its own industrial park?” he asked.
“The duplication doesn’t make sense,” he said. “We have to find better ways for business to do business. We have to figure out ways to work smarter.”
Decisions should be made with the whole region in mind.
For Pelham, he said, that means developing a pleasant residential community with good recreational features and efficient transportation links for its residents to the rest of the region.
Annunziata said his priorities include improving Niagara’s fiscal responsibility, bringing greater respect for taxpayer dollars to the council table, developing transportation solutions to improve growth and enhancing quality of life for residents of Pelham.
A lifelong resident of Niagara, Annunziata has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. He is vice-president of marketing for Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa and Marriott Gateway on the Falls.
His previous experience includes executive director of marketing at Niagara Falls Casino Resort and Casino Niagara, vice president of marketing and development at Hilton Hotel and Suites and director of economic development for Port Colborne.
Annunziata owns and manages businesses focused on property and commercial development throughout the Niagara region.
Annunziata has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including as a the ScotiaBank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls Tourism, Niagara Regional Tourism, Buffalo and Fort Erie Peace Bridge Authority, Ontario Tourism, and the Ontario Racing Commission.