I was honoured last Friday to chair an important meeting with my fellow Mayors from MOSO & with the Premier of Ontario on key issues to strengthen our region and our Province!
The Mayors of Southwest Ontario (MOSO) met with Premier Kathleen Wynne, Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, MPP for Cambridge the Honourable Kathryn McGarry and MPP for Kitchener-Centre Daiene Vernile last Friday to strengthen the relationship between municipal and provincial governments.
At Cambridge City Hall, the group discussed how to improve the region’s economy, transportation, social housing and innovation.
MOSO represents the 11 largest urban centers in southwest Ontario. This is the third meeting of the Mayors of Southwest Ontario, a group formed in January of 2016.
The following expert panelists joined MOSO:
Transportation – Jeff Casello, School of Planning, University of Waterloo
Infrastructure – Mike Moffatt, Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University
Economic Development – Tara Vinodrai, Director, Local Economic Development Program, University of Waterloo
Housing – Michael Shapcott, Director, Housing and Innovation, Wellesley Institute, Toronto
The 90-minute discussion with the Premier touched on the following regional solutions for the four priority areas:
Regional transportation: MOSO and the Premier discussed High Speed Rail and the importance of connecting southwest Ontario’s urban centers with the surrounding cities for seamless and streamlined regional travel.
Infrastructure: MOSO expressed to the Premier that the group is an important consultative body when it comes to determining the infrastructure needs of the region.
Economic development: MOSO collectively agreed to work with the Province to identify ways to retain talent and build innovation across the region, a strategy that will rely on regional transportation and economic connectivity.
Social housing: MOSO and the Province hope to work in concert to ensure the Federal government consults with groups such as MOSO to ensure policies developed at the national level meet local housing needs.
“My commitment to investing in the southwest, building modern infrastructure and tackling the region’s unique economic challenges and opportunities for growth is not something the province achieves alone. We need strong leadership and partnership at the local level and this is exactly what mayors across the southwest are providing,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. “I want to thank the mayors for their work to build Ontario up. Together, we are building strong and prosperous communities for the people we serve.”
“The cities of Southwest Ontario are the major economic driver for the region,” said meeting chair Cam Guthrie, Mayor of Guelph. “We are prepared to work together with the provincial and federal governments to align our efforts so work on major initiatives will move faster for the benefit of all.”
MOSO leaders in attendance included Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, Woodstock Mayor Trevor Birtch, Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig, St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson, Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, Brantford Acting Mayor Cheryl Antoski, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and London Deputy Mayor Paul Hubert. Absent from this meeting were Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky and Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.