Regional Chair’s Youth Advisory Panel holds inaugural meeting

Last night, Regional Chair Jim Bradley welcomed representatives from all 12 local municipalities to the first meeting of the Regional Chair’s Youth Advisory Panel.
After the completion of an extensive recruitment and assessment process, the following 12 panel members were selected:
  • Mackenzie Arts, Fort Erie
  • Keegan Hedley, Grimsby
  • Ava Meadows, Lincoln
  • Salony Sharma, Niagara Falls
  • Benjamin Zalepa, Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Natalie Anderson, Pelham
  • Sierra Walsh-Fiore, Port Colborne
  • Madeleine Alexander, St. Catharines
  • Sawyer Dalton, Thorold
  • Christina DeGagne, Wainfleet
  • Carter Kipp, Welland
  • Esther Gerryts, West Lincoln
During this initial meeting, the panel selected Niagara Falls representative Salony Sharma as its chair. Keegan Hedley of Grimsby will serve as the vice chair for the duration of the panel’s one-year term.
In addition to the 12 citizen youth members of the panel, Regional Councillor Diana Huson will participate as a non-voting member, providing advice and guidance when required.
The Youth Advisory Panel was developed to provide the Chair and Regional Council with a fresh perspective on matters that affect young people across the region. Some potential topic of discussion include environmental issues, public transportation, housing and homelessness and mental health.
The panel’s primary role will be to give advice on policies, programs and services that affect youth in Niagara. The panel will also identify gaps and barriers, and suggest ideas to increase youth participation in Regional programs and services.
The panel will also serve as a place to facilitate inter-municipal discussions and information sharing between the 12 municipalities.
Youth Advisory Panel members will serve a one-year term, with an optional one-year extension. The panel will meet a minimum of six times throughout the year, and provide one formal update to Regional Council on their progress and priorities.


"On behalf of Regional Council, I want to thank all of the youth from Niagara who applied to be part of the advisory panel. After careful review, I was impressed by the caliber of the applications and I want to stress what a difficult decision it was to select these 12 individuals. After participating in this inaugural meeting, I look forward to receiving the input and feedback from this important group over the coming months, and I know Regional Council will carefully consider the advice of this panel as they make policy decisions for all of Niagara."
~ Regional Chair, Jim Bradley

Media Inquiries

Daryl Barnhart
Niagara Region

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