Everything you need to know about Niagara’s 2022 municipal elections

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A rundown of some of the top headlines and key results from around the region. Photo credit: Twitter/Jim Diodati

 

NIAGARA FALLS – Diodati earns fourth term

As expected, incumbent mayor of Canada’s Honeymoon Capital Jim Diodati once again swept into office with relative ease, securing nearly 70 per cent of the vote (his nearest competitor had less than 10). 

In his acceptance speech at Saint George Serbian Orthodox Church’s parish hall on Montrose Road Monday night, Diodati, who has been mayor since 2010, highlighted some of the city’s progress over the last 12 years and noted major future projects, saying “our best days are yet to come.”

Joining Diodati at the local council table this upcoming term will be five familiar faces: Mike Strange, Lori Lococo, Victor Pietrangelo, Wayne Campbell, and Wayne Thomson. While three newcomers earned the privilege to serve Niagara Falls residents: Ruth-Ann Nieuwesteeg, Tony Baldinelli (not the current MP for Niagara Falls – his cousin), and Mona Patel. 

At the regional level, incumbent Bob Gale will return for a third term. The former Ontario PC candidate will be joined by former Liberal MPP Kim Craitor and Joyce Morocco, both of whom have served multiple times at the local council level in the past.

St. CATHARINES – Siscoe secures mayorship 

Former city and regional councillor Mat Siscoe, like his counterpart down the road in Niagara Falls, secured the mayor’s chair in St. Catharines with nearly 70 per cent of the vote Monday night, beating out another former city and regional councillor in Mike Britton, who earned 25 per cent of the final count.  

In his address to supporters at Cold Break Brewery, Siscoe said he felt “amazing” and was proud of the “positive” campaign he and his team ran. 

Siscoe replaces two-term mayor Walter Sendzik, who did not run for re-election. 

Joining Siscoe at St. Catharines City Hall this upcoming term will be incumbent victors Greg Miller, Joseph Kushner, Matt Harris, Kevin Townsend, Robin McPherson, Dawn Dodge, Bill Phillips, Carlos Garcia, and Bruce Williamson, in addition to three fresh faces in Jackie Lindal, Mark Stevens, and Caleb Ratzlaff. 

Former long-time Liberal MPP and incumbent regional chair Jim Bradley handily topped the six winners for regional council, earning 6,000 more votes than his nearest competitor in Laura Ip. Bradley, who will be in his early 80s before next term’s end, reportedly plans to seek the regional chair again. 

Joining Bradley and Ip will be newcomers to the regional scene Haley Bateman, Peter Secord, and Sal Sorrento, along with Tim Rigby. Incumbent Brian Heit did not win re-election. 

WELLAND – Incumbents reign supreme

Welland saw virtually no change in local or regional government Monday. 

Incumbent mayor Frank Campion earned a third straight opportunity to lead the city’s council over the next four years, topping his one and only challenger Jeff Walters by nearly 20 points. 

No less than 10 of Welland’s current 12-person council were returned for another term. The only newcomers at the table this fall will be Sharmila Setaram in Ward 3, who beat out incumbent councillor John Mastroianni by a mere 36 votes, and Jamie Lee, who edged out incumbent Jim LaRouche by an unbelievable one vote.

At the regional level, Pat Chiocchio and Leanna Villella will once again accompany Mayor Campion to Niagara Region headquarters next term. 

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE – Zalepa downs Disero 

In a highly anticipated contest between controversial incumbent mayor Betty Disero and incumbent regional councillor Gary Zalepa, Niagara-on-the-Lake residents gave the green light to lead the small town over the next four years to the latter. 

Zalepa, a lifelong Niagara resident and perennial community volunteer, topped the Toronto-transplant by a convincing 15 points, securing nearly 50 per cent of the vote.

In speaking to supporters at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre Monday night, Zalepa said his team had “no idea which way it was going” and that he felt “overwhelmed” and “excited”. 

Zalepa will head up a council made up of equal parts incumbents and newcomers. Returning to the table this November will be Erwin Wiens, Gary Burroughs, Wendy Cheropita, and Sandra O’Connor. They will be joined by first time members Tim Balasiuk, Nick Ruller, Adriana Cater, and Maria Mavridis. 

Former town councillor and two-time federal Liberal candidate Andrea Kaiser easily won her race and will replace Zalepa at the Region. 

PORT COLBORNE – Bill bests brother Charles in Steele sibling showdown

After making national headlines for featuring estranged brothers Bill and Charles Steele, the mayor’s contest in Port Colborne ended in unsurprising fashion Monday, with incumbent Bill Steele taking home exactly two-thirds of all ballots cast. 

Charles, who hadn’t spoken to his brother in three decades, couldn’t stomach seeing his sibling get acclaimed as mayor so he threw his name in the hat at the last minute. 

The pair apparently have no plans to make amends now that the race is over, with Bill telling CTV News “I don’t speak to my brother.”

In another interesting newsmaker from the small lakeside community, the unofficial results reveal that Ward 2’s second council seat is still very much up for grabs as Eric Beauregard and incumbent Angie Desmarais ended Monday night tied at 342 votes a piece. The results will need to be recounted, tripled-checked, and made official before a winner can be determined. 

WEST LINCOLN – Residents reject Bylsma, Jonker

Well-known anti-mandate incumbent mayor of West Lincoln Dave Bylsma and Freedom Convoy trucker and town councillor Harold Jonker were both defeated Monday evening. 

Byslma was bested by council rival Cheryl Gannan, who won a resounding 68 per cent of the vote versus Byslma’s 27 per cent. 

FORT ERIE – Redekop, Insinna stave off PPC challengers

Sitting mayor and regional councillor for Fort Erie Wayne Redekop and Tom Insinna both managed to easily stave off their respective PPC challengers in Peter Taras and Peter Nolan. 

Redekop secured 67 per cent of the vote, Insinna 68 per cent. 

Taras ran for the People’s Party of Canada in the 2021 federal election, earning 8.4 per cent of the vote, well above the party’s overall share. Nolan was Taras’ campaign manager. 

WAINFLEET – Grant upsets Gibson

Niagara’s smallest municipality provided perhaps the biggest upset of the evening. 

In Wainfleet, 40-year-old small business owner Brian Grant barely edged out well-liked sitting mayor Kevin Gibson by eight votes, 1,052 to 1,044. 

A former RCMP officer, Gibson said he was happily retired before being elected in 2018 and will happily return to the retired life this fall. 

GRIMSBY, LINCOLN, PELHAM, and THOROLD – All mayors remain, plus a few loose ends

In Grimsby, Jeff Jordon swept back into the mayor’s chair, topping John Dunstall with 81 per cent of the vote. Incumbent political veteran Wayne Fertich lost his regional seat to former town councillor Michelle Seaborn. 

Mayor and regional councillor Sandra Easton and Rob Foster were both acclaimed in Lincoln before Monday’s election. Only one fresh face will join the town’s council this fall, as Anna Murre replaces Paul MacPherson in Ward 3, who didn’t seek re-election. 

Marv Junkin won a second term as mayor in Pelham, as did regional councillor Diana Huson. 

Terry Ugulini was returned as mayor of Thorold, as was regional councillor Tim Whalen. 

 

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