Accept Free Audit from Auditor General, OPSEU tells NPCA

 A Call-Out for Public Accontability from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union

Posted March 29th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is calling on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) to accept the Auditor General’s offer to conduct a free and comprehensive audit on the organization instead of paying up to $150,000 to a private firm for an “operational review.”

Niagara citizens demonstrate outside an NPCA board of directors meeting this March 29thy. Photo by Doug Draper

“Last month, the NPCA laid off a highly skilled worker, supposedly due to fiscal constraints,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Why is the NPCA spending $150,000 on consultants when they can get a full audit from the Auditor General’s team of experts for free?” Continue reading

Brock University hosts ‘Smashing’ Fundraiser for ‘Mothers Against Drunk Driving – MADD Canada

 News from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted March 29th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Brock University Student Life and Community Experience marketing assistant Nicole Henderson (pictured immediately below) takes her turn at the Charity Car Smash held in front of Schmon Tower at Brock on Wednesday, March 29.

Proceeds from the fundraising event support MADD Canada. Continue reading

Niagara and Hamilton Area MPPs Urge NPCA to Submit to an Audit from the Ontario Auditor General’s Office

MPPs urge NPCA to withdraw itsr controversial bid to seek an auditor

An Open Letter, dated March 27th, 2017,  from St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley, Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster, Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MPP Paul Miller

Posted March 28th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Here is the letter in full –

On behalf of the communities we represent in the Region, we urge the NPCA to withdraw the Request for Proposal (RFP) issued at last week’s board meeting and instead reconsider the Ontario Auditor General’s offer to conduct a financial audit of the board, a course of action that we believe would go a long way in restoring our respective communities’ faith in their local public conservation authority.

As you know, the Auditor General is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly who is responsible for ensuring that public dollars are used appropriately by the province’s ministries and agencies. Continue reading

Niagara Citizen Sues NPCA and its Past Chair Bruce Timms for Defamation & Punitive Damages

By Doug Draper

Posted March 28th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Ed Smith – a Niagara, Ontario community activist who faces a defamation suit from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and its former CAO Carmen D’Angelo in the wake of questions and concerns he raised about their management practices – has fired back with a lawsuit of his own.

Niagara, Ontario resident and community activist Ed Smith. File photo by Doug Draper

According to documents obtained by Niagara At Large and filed on behalf of Smith,  a 54-year-old retired Canadian Armed Forces officer,  in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Welland, Smith is suing the NPCA, as a body, and its former board of directors chair Bruce Timms, a St. Catharines regional councillor and one of 10 municipal politicians in Niagara sitting on the board, for a total of $60,000.

The penalty being sought by Smith’s lawyers include $50,000 from both the NPCA and Timms for alleged “defamation and/or malicious falsehoods,” and $10,000 for alleged “aggravated and/or punitive damages” – all focusing on what was headlined: “A Special statement from NPCA Chair Bruce Timms,” which was posted on the NPCA’s website this past January and published as a paid ad in a weekly newspaper, Niagara This Week, circulated to homes and businesses throughout the Niagara region.

Niagara At Large obtained the court documents outlining Smith’s lawsuit against the parties late last Friday, March 24th, and made calls that late Friday to both the NPCA and Timms, seeking comment. Continue reading

Another Small Step Toward Inter-Municipal Transit in Niagara, Ontario

Many asked; “What took so long?” and “What’s going to change?” – Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn

A Column by Town of Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn

Posted March 28th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Before I write about the long road toward inter-municipal transit in Niagara, I have a question for you…

Photo courtesy of Niagara.s regonal government.

How excited would you get when friends who own a house and have been living together for five-and-a-half years announce engagement and complete wedding three-months-hence? Are you delighted for the couple, but wonder “what took you so long?” and “what’s going to change in your relationship?” Continue reading

Ontario Minister to Niagara Falls Nature Club – Province is “committed to consersving natural heritage areas (and) significant wetlands.”

“My ministry has confirmed the presence of Provincially Significant Wetlands on the Thundering Waters property (and) we have also acknowledged the potential presence of species at risk which could require authorizations under the province’s Endangered Species Act, 2007.” – Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry

A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted March 28th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry responds to Niagara Falls Nature Club’s concerns over proposed urban development in Thundering Waters Forest

Niagara, Ontario – Concerned about the fate of the Thundering Waters Forest given plans by a China-based developer to construct residential and commercial buildings on a portion of the roughly 500-acre site, the Niagara Falls Nature Club’s conservation director, Joyce Sankey wrote a letter to the province’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne, this past February, urging her not to see policies that would protect its wetlands, forests and grasslands weakened in any way.

“The Niagara area has lost 90 per cent of its pre-settlement wetlands making it vital to preserve what remains,” said Sankey in the Nature Club’s February 16th letter to the premier, a copy of which was shared with Niagara At Large. “Recently, the MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) mapped additional wetlands in the Thundering Waters area. This is a beautiful natural complex with forested swamps, old growth trees and a meadow area which, with so much diversity, provides habitat for a wide range of species.” Continue reading

Niagara Centre MP To Hold Smart Cities Consultation At Brock University

News from the Niagara Centre Constituency Office of Vance Badawey

Posted March 28th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, will be holding a Smart Cities Consultation in partnership with the Department of Geography and Tourism at Brock University, to discuss how to help municipalities in Niagara become smart cities. This event is open to the public.

 “Budget 2017 provides a great opportunity for Niagara municipalities to leverage the mechanism of Community Improvement Plans to promote and encourage economically, environmentally, and technologically sounds growth in a responsible and sustainable way. 

I am looking forward to speaking with students, stakeholders, and the residents of Niagara, hearing their thoughts on smart cities and the future of Niagara.”

Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament, Niagara Centre

  • DATE:           Wednesday, March 29, 2017
  • TIME:            Consultation Begins 2:00 p.m.
  • PLACE:    Brock University, Pond Inlet, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1            

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders