A Better Niagara is a non-partisan organization that believes municipal politics should be about neighbours helping neighbours to solve local problems. The group sees transparency, accountability and integrity as foundational to good governance and the keys to building trust between the public and their elected officials.
A Better Niagara is a not-for-profit corporation, headed by a board of directors and supported by a network of volunteers. The group was a duly-listed Third Party Advertiser in all 12 of Niagara Region's municipalities in the 2018 municipal election and was bound by all the rules that entails. We continue to monitor the governance of our regional and municipal governments, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and other local boards and agencies.
Meet four of our executive:
Ed Smith, Executive Director
Liz Benneian, Director
Liz Benneian is a former journalist and newspaper editor who has been leading advocacy and environmental educational organizations since 2004. Active in her community, Liz has volunteered with several service groups and has provided help and advice to community-led groups around the Province and abroad. Liz has also volunteered on four successful municipal council candidate campaign teams here and in her previous community.
After leading a successful fight against a planned incinerator in Niagara, Liz became concerned about the lack of good governance, especially at the Regional level, in this area. She is pleased to be a part of A Better Niagara, a group of citizens who are working to engage and inform citizens and to support and endorse good candidates in the next municipal election.
Haley Bateman, Director
Haley is a graduate of Brock University, Niagara College and McMaster University. An active volunteer throughout the Region, she serves as Chair of the Property Standards Committee for the City of St. Catharines and volunteers for Wellspring’s Capital Campaign Committee
Haley has been an outspoken citizen for several years, most notably addressing hateful commentary by some Regional Councillors.
The former manager of a local non-profit, Haley brought significant change to the organization's fundraising goals, communication, media relations, and the development and implementation of agency policies.
Dennis Edell, Director
Meet Dennis Edell who joined A Better Niagara’s board in January 2019.
Dennis is recognized globally as an innovator and advocate for integrated social marketing and behaviour change marketing. With his communications agency, Partners and Edell, Dennis has led social marketing/behaviour strategy and campaigns for public health and not for profit organizations in both Canada and the U.S.
Dennis is also an advocate for social change. He was co-chair and founder of Canada’s largest conference showcasing applied behavior change strategies: Leading Social Change (2008 – 2013),
Dennis is a Jordan, Ontario-based beekeeper. He is a member of the executive of the Ontario Beekeepers/ Association where he looks after issues management. Under his watch, the OBA has been successful at encouraging the Ontario government to adopt legislation limiting the use of bee killing pesticides. Dennis also advocated for and helped initiate the Commercial Beekeeping Course at Niagara College.
Dennis is also a founder and Chair of the Niagara Chapter, Trout Unlimited Canada. Founded in 2011, the Chapter now has over 60 members and manages restoration programs on Niagara’s only year-round cold water resource, Twelve Mile Creek. TUC Niagara also hosts an annual three-day Healing Waters event in Niagara that teaches fly fishing therapy to ill or injured Canadian soldiers.
Dennis is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he completed studies in consumer and industrial marketing at the Wharton School. He is also a graduate of the advanced management program at the University of Western Ontario.
On Wednesday evenings Dennis plays tenor saxophone in a jazz combo at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.