Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Announces new Acting CAO

Job Switch comes as controversies continue to swirl around NPCA operations

A News Release from the NPCA

Posted April 26th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Welland, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Board today announced the appointment of Mark Brickell as Acting Chief Administrative Officer, effective Friday, April 28.

“Peter Graham has done an excellent job as Acting CAO. He has taken on a challenging role, and has shown professionalism and commitment to the organziation the entire time”, stated NPCA Chair, Sandy Annunziata. “On behalf of our Board, I would like to thank Peter for his dedication and focus. I have every bit of confidence that Mr. Brickell will be able to continue moving the organization forward in the interim.” Continue reading

Niagara Niagara MPP Cindy Forster applauds NPCA for decision to finally engage Ontario Auditor General

In a letter, Forster also seeks assurance no records will be destroyed prior to audit

“Given the existing climate and the interest of the Auditor General in providing public assurance to our communities, I trust that the board fully appreciates the importance of retaining any and all pre-existing documents.”                          – Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster

A letter to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority from Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster, with a Brief Foreword from NAL publisher Doug Draper

Posted April 26th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Niagara, Ontario – At a meeting this April 26th of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors, St. Catharines regional councillor and board member Bruce Timms (until this past January the board’s chair) tabled a motion that commits the NPCA to destroying none of its records until an audit is performed – possibly by Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s office – on its books.

A meeting of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors, File photo by Doug Draper

Timms’motion was approved by the 15 member board – 11 of which are Niagara regional councillors and mayors of area municipalities – in the wake of concerns raised by numerous area residents, Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster and Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Smokey Thomson, whose union represents more than 20 NPCA employees, that managers at the Conservation Authority might destroy internal documents before a thorough audit is done of the body and before any and all court actions and wrongful dismissal complaints are dealt with. Continue reading

Constituents are “Tired” of Niagara MPP’s NPCA ‘Obsession” – St. Catharines Regional Councillor Andy Petrowski

“I have received several calls over the past few months from Cindy’s constituents who are growing tired of her obsession with the NPCA.” – from a recent email from St. Catharines regional councillor Andy Petrowski to Mike Haines, an executive assistant in Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster’s  constituency office.

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted April 25th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

We seem to have a growing trend of regional councillors in Niagara taking a keener and keener interest in the business of our local municipalities and members of provincial parliament in this Niagara region.

St. Catharines regional councillor Andy Petrowski has received word from Welland MPP Cindy Forster’s constituents upset over her NPCA “obsession.”

And isn’t that a good thing?

After all, what better person could we have scrutinizing the conduct of our local municipal councils and those we elect to represent us in the Ontario legislature than a member of Niagara regional council? Right?

Now here are just two of the more recent examples of what I am talking about here.

Late this past March, those of us who still dare to peak in on meetings of Niagara Region’s council were offered the spectacle of Port Colborne regional councillor David Barrick, who also serves as chair of the regional government’s budget and corporate services committees aside from his full-time administrative job at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, tabled a motion calling for a closer examination of the Town of Pelham’s financial well-being given that it might (according to wording in his motion) deal a serious blow to the credit rating for the entire region.

This reporter attended a town hall meeting arranged by Pelham’s municipal council this April 24th to address the concerns raised in Barrick’s motion, but so far – based on the questions and concerns addressed at that meeting, at least –Pelham’s finances don’t appear to have the makings of a budget bomb that could send shrapnel flying all over the peninsula. Not even close. Continue reading

Ontario NDP’s Pharmacare Plan – A Welcome Step Toward Comprehensive Drug Coverage for All

A Message from the Ontario Health Coalition, a not-for-profit, citizens advocacy group for better health care services in Ontario

Posted April 25th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario – The Ontario Health Coalition welcomes the Ontario NDP’s announcement today of a proposed drug program to expand coverage to 2.2 million Ontarians.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, this April 24th, announces pharmacare plan for all in province

Just as public health care, or “medicare”, covers hospitals and doctors, public pharmacare would be a public insurance program covering medicines.  It would improve the current patchwork of private insurance plans, the Ontario Drug Benefits program and the Trillium Drug Plan. Continue reading

Niagara West MPP Calls on Ontario’s Wynne Government to “stand up for Niagara” in Budget

News from the Constituence Offce of Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP Same Oosterhoff

Posted April 25th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara West-Glanbrook riding MPP Sam Oosterhoff

In an open letter to Finance Minister Charles Sousa, Ontario PC MPP Sam Oosterhoff, representing the riding of Niagara West-Glanbrook, called on the government to finally stand-up for the Niagara Region in the provincial budget.

The Ontario PCs also echoed these calls in the legislature this April 24th at Queen’s Park. Audio and video of the question is below.

 “My question is to the Minister of Finance. I wrote to the minister last week. Continue reading

Ontario’s Wynne Government – Giving More People an Opportunity to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead

Ontario Basic Income Pilot to Launch in Thunder Bay, Hamilton and Lindsay

News from the Ontario Premier’s Office

Posted April 25th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Hamilton, Ontario – Ontario is launching a pilot project to assess whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers, improve health and education outcomes for people on low incomes, and help ensure that everyone shares in Ontario’s economic growth.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced details of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP) project this April 24th at LiUNA Station in Hamilton. The three-year study will test how a basic income might expand opportunities and job prospects of those living on low incomes while providing greater security for them and their families. Continue reading

Great Lakes Residents Pack International Joint Commission Meetings to Voice Their Thoughts and Concerns

‘Four presentations (at a St. Catharines, Ontario public meeting) discussed regional initiatives for sustainable agriculture and the Niagara River Area of Concern.’

By Sally Cole-Misch, International Joint Commission

Posted April 25th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

At five IJC public meetings on the Great Lakes held March 21-29 around the basin, standing-room-only crowds packed venues in Canada and the United States to learn from presentations about topics reflecting local issues as they relate to the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem, and to share their own thoughts and concerns.

The IJC held the meetings to obtain comment on the governments’ progress report released last fall, its own draft assessment of progress report released in January, and other issues that Great Lakes residents wished to address.

All comments – from presenters and the public – will be reviewed as part of the public input into a final Triennial Assessment of Progress (TAP) report to be released later this year. Continue reading