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Chatham-Kent set to host Ontario’s Big City Mayors on Friday

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Ontario’s Big City Mayors are holding a meeting of their Mayor's Caucus in Chatham-Kent on Friday.

The mayors will be meeting to discuss municipal priorities such as housing and infrastructure for Ontario’s largest municipalities, while also updating their Health and Homelessness Strategy.

"The group comes together to advocate for issues that larger cities have, advocate to the province, and advocate to the federal government," explained Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff.

"So it's really important in the meetings we talk about the issues that we face. But we also we have ministers come in virtually every meeting to talk to us and we share our issues, etc. So, we're really excited to be hosting here in Chatham-Kent," said Canniff.

Ontario’s Big City Mayors includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 per cent of Ontario’s population.

The group advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.

"Affordable housing and homelessness is the biggest issue we face," Canniff explained. "Basically the bigger the city, the bigger the problem they have. So, in the bigger cities there's huge issues with that. And that's where we really need provincial and federal help."

"On the infrastructure side, the costs that municipalities are incurring because of homelessness is astronomical and we need help with that," he said.

Canniff noted there are some mayors who have never been to Chatham-Kent before, adding it's an opportunity to showcase the municipality, and share ideas from other regions as well.

"Our housing goal, we topped the province here in Chatham-Kent with our housing goal exceeding it by over 500 per cent. So we certainly have been building a lot of homes here and it's exciting. But those are the key issues we face. Housing and infrastructure. We need a sustainable model from the province and the feds for funding for municipal governments, because right now there's too much burden on the local taxpayers to cover the costs there and we need a formula that works for all of us," Canniff said.

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