We continue to experience significant changes and uncertainty due to COVID-19 across our community in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and around the world. Amid this incredibly unusual situation, the Town is making every possible effort to continue operations and ensure that critical decision-making can continue.

If you are looking for information about how the Town is responding to the COVID 19 pandemic, please visit for regular updates. For more general information about Novel Coronavirus and Niagara Region Public Health’s recommended preventative measures, go to

Niagara-on-the-Lake is continuing to provide Core Services amid the closures of Town facilities. Complaints or requests for service can be made online at or by calling 905-468-3266 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday to Friday.

As Lord Mayor Betty Disero has communicated frequently, it is so important to follow the advice of medical experts, #StayHomeNOTL and find ways to stay connected from a distance:

"I urge everyone to stay calm and to continue exercising caution during this unprecedented time. Please remember to check in on your neighbours and loved ones over the phone to make sure nobody is alone through this."

Council Business Continues Tonight

One week after declaring a State of Emergency in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Council will meet via Microsoft Teams today at 5:30 and 6pm to continue the process of public deliberation and decision-making.

Though the option to participate in meetings electronically was moved and defeated by Town Council in December 2018, it is now possible to do so thanks to changes recently enacted by the Provincial Government with an update to the Municipal Act. Read the staff report and draft by-law here.

Members of the public can listen to live audio starting at 5:30pm through the Town's website at

Agenda Highlights

  • Part Lot Control exemption for The Corners development at Victoria and John Streets

  • Fire Rescue Pumper Truck replacement

  • Various road and sewer rehabilitation and reconstruction projects

  • Renaming Glendale Avenue East to "Lampman Court"

  • Enhanced waste collection for the Queen Street DBA

  • Speed limit reduction on Concession 6 from York Road to Niagara Falls boundary

  • Financial relief options for residents and businesses due to COVID-19

Information Package Highlights

View the full agenda and all reports in detail, including full Council Information Packages, at

Updates for Local Businesses

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce and Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce are both providing fantastic and detailed updates to the business community in NOTL and across Niagara. Contact both organizations to be added to their mailing lists for regular and helpful newsletters with all the latest information.

Excerpts from each are below, from last week:

NOTL Chamber Updates

  • Work Sharing Program, it has been simplified to allow a rapid application that can be submitted by email click here for more info

  • CERB (Canadian Emergency Response Benefits) will allow to access up to $2000 click here for more info

  • BDC will provide working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to six months for qualifying businesses click here for more info

  • Canada Emergency Business Account: banks will soon offer $40,000, which will be guaranteed by the government, loans will be interest-free for the first year, and $10,000 will be forgivable. Applied to your financial institutions.

  • The federal government launch a program to boost wage subsidies up to 75% for qualified businesses. We will update on the next Newsletter with fresh and clear information

GNCC Updates

  • The Government of Canada has announced that eligible small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) will receive a 75% wage subsidy for up to three months. The wage subsidy FAQ has not yet been updated, but should be when further details are known. Industry Canada defines an SME as an enterprise with fewer than five hundred (500) employees.

  • The Government of Canada has launched the Canada Emergency Business Account. Under this program, banks will offer up to $40,000 in government-guaranteed loans for businesses with payrolls of less than $1-million. These loans will be interest-free for one year. Around $10,000 of these loans will be forgiven for eligible businesses.

  • The Government of Canada has deferred GST/HST taxes and duties on exports until June.

  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has announced that licensed restaurants and bars in Ontario may sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9:00 am and 11:00 pm, effective immediately. No application process or fee is required.

  • The holder of the liquor sales license is accountable for the responsible sale and delivery of alcohol. This includes making sure the person to whom the order is delivered is at least 19 and is not intoxicated.

  • The licensee or its staff involved in the delivery of alcohol must have successfully completed Smart Serve training. In instances where the delivery is being carried out by a third party on behalf of the licensee, Smart Serve certification is required by April 25, 2020.

Stay Home NOTL and Niagara

The Town's original communication campaign around #StayHomeNOTL has now been picked up and expanded by Niagara Region through #StayHomeNiagara.

Show your support and participation by completing a #StayHomeNOTL poster and showing it on your front windows or through social media. Print a poster here.

Read about my own self-isolation in the Lake Report here. Though this 14 day period ends tonight, I will continue to follow all the recommendations of medical experts and authorities at all levels of government to stay home, eliminate non-essential trips, wash hands frequently for a minimum of 20 seconds, and practice physical distancing.

Find a fantastic read about how a 103-year-old woman who lived through the Spanish Flu epidemic is now responding to COVID-19 and looking at the brighter side of life.

For further reading, the New York Times is providing free access to all coverage on COVID-19 during the pandemic.

All the best to you in these extraordinary times.

State of Emergency Declared in Niagara-on-the-Lake

On March 23, 2020 Lord Mayor Disero declared a State of Emergency in Niagara-on-the-Lake to further protect our unique community from the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Read the full declaration here

Visit the Town's COVID-19 page here to view all the latest information on the Town's response to the virus, read Frequently Asked Questions and view helpful links to guidance for how to protect yourself and others from illness.

If you have recently returned home from travel, or are living with someone who recently traveled outside of Canada, please self-isolate for 14 days from the date of your return.

Find more information on how to self-monitor, how to self-isolate, how to isolate and what are the differences between each here

Read more detail about the State of Emergency and what this means in section 8 of the Town's Frequently Asked Questions

Please share this message and links with your friends, family and colleagues.

Thank you for your willingness to support the common good in this extraordinary time.

Hello, and all the best to you and friends in the middle of winter.

Next meeting of Council is Monday, February 24 at 6pm in Chambers at Town Hall, 1593 Four Mile Creek Road.  At this meeting, Council will discuss and ratify decisions of the February 3 and 10 Committees of the Whole.

View the full 2020 meeting schedule at

View agenda packages and minutes here

Below are notes and updates on the previous month of my activities as your Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor.

Council Business

Highlights from the January 20 meeting of Council:

  • Presentation and Report from Cindy Grant, Chair of the Community Wellness Committee, including multiple recommendations on how to improve overall health and wellness across nine categories. View the slide deck under Agenda Delegations here

  • Multiple delegations on increasing Short Term Rental licensing fees. Find more information on this issue here

  • Decision to defer further consideration of a Municipal Accommodation Tax until a Tourism Strategy can be completed for Niagara-on-the-Lake

Highlights from the February 3 Committee of the Whole - Planning:

  • Public meeting for proposed amendments to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Zoning By-law for garage setbacks and width restrictions in the urban areas. Read the staff report starting on page 8 here

  • Motion to hire an external planner to provide evidence relating to Council's decision before the LPAT for proposed development at 1490 York Road in St. Davids

  • Initial steps to establish a Community Planning Permit System in Niagara-on-the-Lake. View the circulation starting on page 7 here

Highlights from the February 10 Committee of the Whole - General:

  • Presentation from 2WA, who has been assisting the Town in creation of a new Strategic Plan. The plan has been finalized and will be posted soon to Join the Conversation at

  • Presentation on opportunities to commemorate local history in the Glendale area, including street names, parks and statues to honour remarkable women from Niagara's past. View the slide deck under Delegations/Presentations here

  • Catherine Habermebl, Director of Waste Management for Niagara Region, presented on the 2019 changes to waste collection contract and services. For the collection of diapers and medical waste there will be no change in the current process, which requires participants to preregister through an online form, purchase clear bags, and segregate all items from other household waste.

  • Motion to create a steering committee to consider and make recommendations for the future of 176 Wellington Street in Old Town, the former site of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Hospital. The Town solicited ideas from the community for this site in 2018. View report CS-20-002 under the Consent Agenda here

  • Report on a proposed Hiring Policy for the Town, including all internal positions and the process of hiring a CAO

  • Report on removing the overnight parking exemption, to permit parking on Town streets from 2am - 6am

  • Financial investment options required to continue the conversion of high-pressure sodium streetlights to LED fixtures

  • CAO Selection Committee minutes, including a draft job description for the role

Notes on a Proposed Municipal Accommodation Tax

Below is a summary of my current views on a proposed Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT), shared at the January 20 Council meeting.

Claims that a MAT will be impossible to collect or calculate, too complicated to communicate and explain to visitors, or that a MAT will kill the tourism industry in Niagara-on-the-Lake, are unconvincing without reliable data.

At the same time, a MAT could unfairly target visitors who are investing in overnight stays and spending multiple days in our community, which is something we should encourage for greater economic benefit to local businesses.

Before implementing a MAT it is very important for Council to see independent research on this topic, including a fresh calculation of just how many tourists actually visit Niagara-on-the-Lake each year. Estimates vary wildly from 2.5 to upwards of 6 million people depending on the source. Given how important tourism is to our local economy, we need to settle on a real and factual number to assist in future planning.

We also need a Tourism Strategy as soon as possible, that will address long outstanding questions about the kind of destination Niagara-on-the-Lake wants to be: A luxury boutique? A playground for families? A stop for high-volume day trips? A heritage destination? An Instagram backdrop? A wedding venue? A culinary hotspot? Or do we want to be all of these things, and appeal to as many people as possible? If properly managed, a MAT will actually increase tourism through reinvestment in tourism-related infrastructure and marketing. Is that the right goal?

Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake has a very important role in crafting a tourism strategy for our community, which is also included as a goal in the Town's new Strategic Plan. I look forward to listening to members of the tourism and accommodation industry, together with residents and business owners on this important issue.

In Our Community

Over two weekends in January, Niagara-on-the-Lake welcomed thousands of visitors to the Icewine Festival.

On January 22 I was a guest on the CKTB Round Table and participated as a guest mentor for the City of St. Catharines' A Seat at the Table program. Learn more about this initiative here

It was an honour to facilitate a second Strategic Planning session for Riverbrink Art Museum's Board of Directors.

I also visited Walker Environmental in February, including an opportunity to meet the organization's falconer. Yes that's right, a falconer, who uses birds of prey to discourage swarms of seagulls from forming at the two landfill sites on Mountain Road. Though not in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this massive and varied facility provides critical waste management services to our residents every day.

On February 7, F45 hosted a Health and Wellness Night for NOTL Mamas and Babies at their location on Niagara Stone Road.

Stay warm, Spring is coming!

© 2019 Clare Cameron

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