Niagara has a rich urban and rural fabric that requires the protection and enhancement of carefully coordinated public policy. Protecting the natural environment, compact walkable communities, vibrant city centres, and efficient and wise use of infrastructure are a result of policies and development practices that are fundamental to the rich urban and rural fabric in Niagara – now and into the future.
The Smarter Niagara Steering Committee will provide recommendations on cross-disciplinary urban strategies and policies. The objective is to create, improve, enhance, and protect the built and natural environment, in turn enriching the public realm and the social, mental, and physical well-being of the people of Niagara.
The hoped for policy result is town centres restored to healthy and viable commercial, residential, and public spaces; distinct, diverse and walkable neighbourhoods each with a sense of place served by public and active transportation, and; an overriding respect for the natural environment, rural areas, and our built heritage legacy.
The committee shall also conduct or participate in research and coordinated community education efforts through print, digital media, and conferences.
The core mandate is to provide input to staff and Regional Council on cross-disciplinary urban strategies and policies that create, improve, enhance, and protect the built and natural environment, in turn enriching the social, mental, and physical well-being of the people of Niagara.
The committee shall also conduct or participate in research, and recommend coordinated community education efforts through print, digital media, and conferences.
Thriving downtowns, walkable neighbourhoods, sustained natural environments.
The Smarter Niagara Steering Committee provides commentary to staff in the development of an annual work plan identifying the specific initiatives and activities to be undertaken within each of the areas of focus, inclusive of budget and human resource needs of Niagara Region, to further guide decision-making and resource management
The membership for the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee has a maximum of 15 members.
Membership for the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee shall be comprised of up to 3 Regional Council members combined with representatives from the community at large who have diverse interests as well as a gender balance. Smarter Niagara is a Region-wide initiative; therefore, the membership is geographically representative of the entire Niagara Region and represents a broad cross-section of Regional residents and interests. Recruitment may target but is not limited to the following organizations/interest groups:
The term of membership is concurrent with Regional Council's elected term of office, and the membership is approved by Council in accordance with membership requirements in the Terms of Reference. Current Committee members indicate their desire to be reappointed to the Committee no later than the December meeting prior to the change in Council.
All attempts are made to stay within the guideline composition; however, if the applications received or the qualifications of applicants do not fully address the guideline composition criteria, the most capable and qualified applicants are recommended for appointment to fulfill the membership composition.
The initial call for membership is made in accordance with Niagara Region's established application process.
Each Working Group shall include at least one member of the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee.
Working Groups are considered to be time-limited, project-specific sub-committees of the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee in that they are convened to accomplish a specific task (or tasks) in a narrowly defined time period.
The Smarter Niagara Steering Committee will focus on the overall project, whereas the respective Working Groups will focus on component aspects of the project.
The Integrated Community Planning Department is the designated lead department regarding resource support for the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee; however, the Committee also has access to the technical expertise of staff from other Regional departments as may be required. It is recognized that staff time and the level of participation are dependent on other departmental priorities as determined by senior management and/or Regional Council.
The Integrated Community Planning Department allocates sufficient budgetary resources to fulfill the educational and communications mandate of the committee. Additional resourcing may be required for projects with senior levels of government. The committee may, in each budget cycle, suggest changes based on its proposed activities.
The Committee shall receive administrative support from the Office of the Regional Clerk for meeting and agenda management.
A meeting schedule following a 6-week rotation is set for the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee. The schedule is circulated to the members for approval each year. Should a time-sensitive matter arise, the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee may meet at the call of the Chair. The Smarter Niagara Steering Committee meetings are held at Regional Headquarters at a time as determined by the Chair in consultation with the lead staff and the Office of the Regional Clerk. All meetings are open to the public.
Meetings shall be governed by the Region's Procedural By-law, being a by-law to govern the calling, place and proceedings of the meetings of Council and its Committees, as may be amended from time to time. This includes rules surrounding quorum, selection of Chair and Vice-Chair, conflict of interest, confidentiality, open meetings, and all other matters addressed in the Procedural By-law.
For any items arising from Smarter Niagara Steering Committee meetings that require Council approval or endorsement, Regional staff will present a report to the Integrated Community Planning Committee outlining the recommendations of the Smarter Niagara Steering Committee and the recommendations of staff.
Meeting minutes for Smarter Niagara Steering Committee shall be included on the Integrated Community Planning Committee meeting agenda for the information of Integrated Community Planning Committee and Regional Council.
A committee member who is unable to attend a meeting, shall forward his/her regrets to the Office of the Regional Clerk as soon as possible. Should the Office of the Regional Clerk not have confirmation of quorum 24 hours prior to the meeting, the meeting shall be cancelled.
The Terms of Reference are reviewed and refined at a minimum of every four years to ensure that they remain current and meaningful.
Proposals to amend the Terms of Reference require the approval of a majority of the members present. Proposed amendments to the Terms of Reference are submitted to Regional Council for approval through the Integrated Community Planning Committee via a staff report accompanying the recommended Terms of Reference and take effect only upon the approval of Regional Council.
Members who miss three unauthorized consecutive meetings shall be deemed to have resigned from the Committee and will be notified of this in writing by the Committee Chair.