These May Be The Most Important Municipal Elections in Niagara, Ontario History. Get Engaged And Vote!

A Brief by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

There is now only one week to go before eligible voters across the Niagara, Ontario region go to the polls this coming Monday, October 27th to choose who will lead us at the municipal level for the next four years.every vote counts

And, I would urgently submit, the stakes could not be hire. Public transit, smarter, more affordable urban growth versus the 20th century contagion of low-density sprawl, drawing more jobs and young people to want to live and work here, conserving what is left of our watersheds and natural environments, the cost of policing and health and seniors care – the list goes on and on. Continue reading

Homeless Historians In Niagara, Ontario’s City of Throld Still Left On Hold

By Pamela Minns

This has been an ongoing saga and is a sorry story to come out of a City which is beginning to be noticed by other municipalities in the Region of Niagara, as one which is moving ahead — especially when it comes to our heritage.

A key monument to Thorold, Ontario's history, the Keefer Mansion (open today as a restaurant and in) was a home of one of the community's founding families, involved in the construction of the first Welland Canal and a major grist mill here. File photo by Doug Draper -

A key monument to Thorold’a history, the Keefer Mansion (open today as a restaurant and in) was a home of one of the community’s founding families, involved in the construction of the first Welland Canal and a major grist mill here. Phoro by Doug Draper

“Heritage” is nearly always grouped with “Culture” when it should stand alone, since it is the foundation of our communities; it is what gives us an individuality and uniqueness that creates pride…it draws visitors and tourists, and furthermore, makes them want to return !

The sad part of this whole story is the lack of importance placed on our history, our culture, and our heritage, by the City of Thorold. Allowing Chestnut Hall – a city-owned, designated heritage building – attached to our library, which housed our Museum, to reach the stage where its contents were threatened with water damage, animal invasion and whatever else can occur in a building that has not been maintained and which badly needs attention – BUT with no monies allotted in the City budget year after year ! Continue reading

Another Shameful Episode For Canada On The Environmental Front

A Brief Comment by Doug Draper

Barely two weeks after Canada’s Environmental Commissioner Julie Gelfand gave Harper’s Conservative government poor marks for efforts to address current and emerging environmental threats, we see a perfect example of that off one of the country’s most pristine natural coastlines.

The  Haida Gwaii region is one of Canada's great natural gems

The Haida Gwaii region is one of Canada’s great natural gems

This October 17th through 19th, all Canadians who care about protecting what is left of our precious wildlife areas held our breath while a disabled Russian ship containing large quantities of heavy oil washed like a cork toward British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii coastline in stormy waters.

Despite knowing that ships carrying such potentially polluting cargo are already plying these waters and that such traffic will multiply if the Harper government gets its way if a so-called Northern Gateway pipeline is run from Alberta’s tar sands to the coast, it took more than half a day for the Canadian Coast Guard to get a tug boat to the crippled ship. Then we learn that the tug was ill-equipped to deal with the crisis with three tow snapping as it attempted to pull the ship away from the coast where a break-up of its hull could mean an environmental disaster. Continue reading

Join A ‘Ban Fracking Now’ Gathering In Buffalo, New York

News from the citizen groups Western New York Drilling Defense, Food & Water Watch, New Yorkers Against Fracking and more.

(A Brief Note from NAL – For those in Niagara, Ontario wondering why the movement to continue a ban on fracking in New York State is important, if this state across the border caves to petro-chemical industry pressures to use high pressure water laced with chemical agents to drill for gas from deep layers of shale here, pressure to do the same may grow in Ontario. All this around legitimate concerns that this practice may be seriously contaminating underground water aquifers, especially in rural areas where people need health underground water supplies the most.)global grackdown

Global Frackdown 2014 in Buffalo, NY
The Growing Link Between Fracking & Our Health

Saturday, October 18, 2014 – Bidwell Park (off Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, New York – 11 A.M.
RSVP on Facebook:

About The Global Frackdown

The first-ever Global Frackdown in September 2012 brought together 200 community actions from over 20 countries to challenge hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—a risky technique that uses millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals to break open shale rock deep underground to release previously unrecoverable deposits of oil and gas. The oil and gas industry has spent millions of dollars on slick PR campaigns and high-profile lobbying efforts to buy the ability to extract fossil fuels from our communities with as little government oversight as possible, all while destroying our water resources and our climate. Continue reading

Ontario Premier Should Plug In To Cleaner, Greener Quebec Hydro Power Over Nuclear Power Here

News from the Toronto-based citizen Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Enough Excuses – It’s Time For Premier Wynne To Take The Bull By The Horns -

Ontario cannot import low-cost water power from Quebec to replace more costly power from a re-built Darlington Nuclear Station if Darlington continues to operate.  That is the bizarre conclusion of a report issued Tuesday by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).

A Quebec hydro power dam on the Ottawa River along the border of Ontario and Quebec

A Quebec hydro power dam on the Ottawa River along the border of Ontario and Quebec

 Rather than actually address whether it was feasible to use Quebec power instead of re-building Darlington, the two agencies simply assumed that the province would proceed with the Darlington Re-Build no matter what.  They then found that with Darlington fully operational, there would not be enough capacity on the provincial electricity grid to import more than a fraction of the power needed to replace Darlington.  Not really following the logic?  Neither are we.

And it only gets stranger from there. Continue reading

The World Remembers – Chorus Niagara Presents A Multi-Media Commemoration Of The First World War

News from  Niagara, Ontario’s Chorus Niagara

Chorus Niagara, Niagara’s premiere symphonic chorus, with Artistic Director Robert Cooper, present The World Remembers on Saturday November 8th, 7:30pm at Calvary Church, 89 Scott Street in St. Catharines.

A Canadian war poster for World War One. Multi-thousands of them never came back alive, and for what and for why?

A Canadian war poster for World War One. Multi-thousands of them never came back alive, and for what and for why?

The World Remembers features veteran Shaw Festival actors Benedict Campbell and Fiona Byrne presenting a variety of riveting local historical accounts of World War 1. The readings, curated by Adrian Petry, Public Programmer at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre, include first person reflections from a variety of local characters, providing the audience with a glimpse of life on the front lines and the home front.

“WWI was a turning point for Canada, transitioning from a British colony to nationhood. We want our audience to feel that emotional experience with a greater appreciation of Canada’s impact in the First World War, through the medium that we so value – choral music”, says artistic director Robert Cooper. A musical salute to the pride, passion and pathos of ‘the war to end all wars’, the heartfelt spoken word and captivating musical selections are illuminated by a visual tapestry of touching images curated by film and popular culture historian Joan Nicks. Continue reading

Niagara Region Marks Waste Reduction Week With Tours, Other Events For The Public

New from Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government

(A Brief Note from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – For those who live in Niagara, Ontario and may not know which level of municipal government – the local or regional – is responsible for the disposal and recycling of our household and commercial waste, it is the regional level.

For those who are so much in to a narrow, parochial view of Niagara that says something like; ‘let’s get rid of regional government and/or even if we keep it, let’s continue with this hodge-podge, patchwork of 12 local municipalities, it is instructive to note the following. The transfer of waste management services from local municipalities to the region more than a decade and a half ago, allowed for a collective pooling of municipal tax money that now services all residents in this region – urban and rural – wth one of the best waste disposal and recycling services in Ontario. 

And that is not opinion. It is fact and proven in this region’s track record (do the research yourself if you don’t believe me) when it comes to recycling and otherwise diverting our waste from simply being dumped in a hole in the ground.

Now if we could only get beyond the parochial Neanderthals in this region and do the same thing with public transit.)

Niagara, Ontario's central recycling centre in Niagara Falls has been rated one of best in Ontario

Niagara, Ontario’s central recycling centre in Niagara Falls has been rated one of best in Ontario

Waste Reduction Week October  20th to  26th 

Niagara Region, Oct. 14, 2014 – During Waste Reduction Week, Oct. 20 – 26, Niagara Region will hold public tours, information booths and a contest to educate residents about the importance of waste reduction and provide the opportunity to learn what happens to their recycling and waste once it leaves the curb. See details and dates of activities listed below.

Waste Management Information Booth

When:Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where:Fairview Mall, St. Catharines

Niagara Region waste management staff will be available to provide information and answer questions on reducing, reusing and recycling and waste management in Niagara. Play our waste reduction PLINKO game for a chance to win a prize made from recycled materials (while quantities last). Continue reading