Show Your Support For A St. Catharines Councillor’s Motion To Demand Accountability From Conservation Authority On How Niagara Tax Dollars Are Spent!

Names And Contact Info. For St. Catharines Councillors Is Posted Here – Call Or Email Them Before This Monday, December 5th Evening Council Meeting

A  Call-Out from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted December 4th, 2016 on Niagara At Large

“Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing,” said St. Catharines/Niagara citizen Ed Smith at a press conference this past November 30th about the lawsuit threat he is facing from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority for raising questions about its operating practices and demanding a forensic audit to get to the bottom of how responsibly the NPCA is spending millions of dollars of tax money that comes from residents in Niagara, Hamilton and Haldimand County.

A recent citizens' protest in front of the Niagara Peninsula Conservtion Authority headquarters in Welland/Niagara, Ontario. Protesters call for full audit of the body.

A recent citizens’ protest in front of the Niagara Peninsula Conservtion Authority headquarters in Welland/Niagara, Ontario. Protesters call for full audit of the body.

This past a spring, during what turned out to be a failed attempt by a delegation of area resident, including Smith, to convince enough Niagara regional councillors (a number of whom are allowed by the regional and provincial governments to sit on the NPCA board) to do a thorough audit of the Conservation Authority’s operations, Thorold regional councillor and former Thorold mayor Henry D’Angela (who has no ties with then NPCA CEO and now-Niagara regional CEO Carmen D’Angelo), insisted that the audit should be done “to make sure we’re (each and every tax paying citizen in the region) getting value for money from the NPCA.”

“Who wouldn’t want their internal controls reviewed to see if they can do it better,” asked D’Angela at the time.

Who indeed! Continue reading

Back To Their Blues Roots, The Stones are still Rocking and Rolling After All These Years.

In A Year Of Titanic Losses In The Pop Music World, It’s Good To Know That Some Of The Great Ones Are Still Alive And Hitting The Hgh Notes  

A Brief One by Doug Draper

Posted December 2nd, 2016 on Niagara At Large

(A Foreword Note from Doug Draper – Most of us know there are a number of things going on now in regional, provincial, state and national politics that have us feeling depressed, disappointed and outraged now. NAL posts lots of news and commentary on this site, addressing those things head on. But every once in a while, it is good to have a break from that stuff and do a post on something that mike make us feel a little better – like music. That’s why this post is here.)

It’s been a pretty damn depressing year – this 2016 has – for deaths in the world of music.rolling_stones_blue_and_lonesome_album_cover-jpg

We lost some of the real geniuses and giants in blues, jazz, folk and rock, and all genres in between, and there can’t be much more room left up there on that stage in Rock & Roll heaven.

So it is especially good to discover that some of the great ones are still around, making records that match anything they and others have released over the past 40 or 50 years.

On that high note, if you were to tell me back in 1966, when I was grooving to ‘Paint It Black’ off the first album they released with every track on it penned by them, that I’d be going to a music store in 2016 to buy the latest new studio album by The Rolling Stones, I would never have believed it. Continue reading

St. Catharines City Council To Consider Motion Calling For Full Investigation & Forensic Audit Of Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

The NPCA “has operated as a closed shop (and) has shown no respect for the principle of serving the common good and protecting the unique natural environmental features we share in the Niagara Peninsula.”                                                                           – St. Catharines, Ontario City Councillor Bruce Williamson

By Doug Draper

Posted December 1st & 2nd  2016 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario –A St. Catharines councillor is planning to put a motion before the city’s council this coming Monday, December 5th, urging the Ontario government “to immediately initiate an appropriately thorough investigation and forensic audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.”

St. Catharines, Ontario city councilor Bruce Williamson to table motion, calling on province for full, forensic audit of NPCA

St. Catharines, Ontario city councilor Bruce Williamson to table motion, calling on province for full, forensic audit of NPCA

The motion, drafted by veteran St. Catharines councillor Bruce Williamson, follows in the wake of a public call Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster made two weeks ago to Kathryn McGarry, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, for a full and independent forensic audit of the NPCA.

A call for an audit of the same body was also made to Niagara’s regional council earlier this year by a delegation of area residents, led by St. Catharines citizen activist Ed Smith, who was recently threatened by the NPCA with a “defamation” lawsuit for circulating a report called “A Call for Accountability at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority,” detailing a long list of concerns and questions around the way the NPCA operates, including the firing and hiring of staff. Continue reading

NPCA Honchoes Attack Forest Defenders

By John Bacher

Niagara, Ontario – Honchoes at Niagara’s Conservation Authority have mounted an offensives against forest defenders through their response to the bravely circulated document, “A Call For Accountability at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.”

A threatening salvo was fired off on behalf of the Conservation Authority in the form of a letter by Robert Burns, solicitor with a Niagara Falls-based law firm, Broderick and Partners. It alleges that the authors of “the Call” are “motivated by malice” in their “false and defamatory” attacks.

thundering-forest-water-closeup

Following that missive, another barrage was fired off by way of “A Special Statement” from NPCA board chair and St. Catharines regional councillor Bruce Timms.

The “Special Statement”, posted on the Conservation Authority’s website and featured as a full-page ad in Metroland weekly newspapers across Niagara this December 1st, condemns citizen conservationists in the Niagara community for not focusing on “valid concerns.”

This “Special Statement” claims that the authentic debate shaping up over the future of the 500 acre Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, now targeted for urban development, “has shifted to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the City of Niagara Falls, and the province.”  Continue reading

Ontario Farming Groups Unite to Call on Province to Freeze Urban Boundaries Now

“Everyone wins when we design better planned, healthier urban and rural communities, while also creating an environment for farming and the agri-food economy to remain prosperous.”

News from the Ontario Farmland Trust

Posted December 1st, 2016 on Niagara At Large

low density sprawl closing in on what's left of our food-growing lands

low density sprawl closing in on what’s left of our food-growing lands

Guelph, Ontario – For the first time, all of Ontario’s major farm organizations, representing some 52,000 farms and 78,000 farmers, have come together to present a strong, united message to the province: freeze urban boundaries now to stop urban sprawl and protect farming in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).

“The province needs to impose real boundaries on urban expansion, not more restrictions on farming,” says Keith Currie, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). “Hard municipal growth boundaries must be part of the solution to supporting agriculture in the GGH so we don’t pave over the region’s farmland and displace more farm families and farming communities.” Continue reading

Niagara Citizen Won’t Let Conservation Authority Muzzle His Efforts – And Those Of Others -To Make It More Publicly Accountable

NPCA’s Legal Threat Is “Nothing Less Than A Full Frontal Assault On Our Democracy, And On Our Rights As Canadians”    – Niagara citizen and retired Canadian Armed Forces officer    Ed Smith

By Doug Draper

Posted November 30th, 2016 on Niagara At Large

The answer is ‘NO’!

Ed Smith tells reporters this November 30th that he won't let the threat of a lawsuit stop him from asking questions about how the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority spends our tax dollars, Photo by Doug Draper

Ed Smith tells reporters this November 30th that he won’t let the threat of a lawsuit stop him from asking questions about how the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority spends our tax dollars, Photo by Doug Draper

With a December 1st deadline in a lawyer’s letter aimed squarely and menacingly  at him, Ed Smith – a retired, 25-year member of the Canadian Armed Forces and a Niagara, Ontario citizens who has spent the better part of the last year seeking information on how the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority is spending public money – said at a press conference this November 30th that he would rather fight any litigation that may be brought against him in court than comply with demands being made to him in a recent letter from an NPCA-hired lawyer.

The November 14th letter, signed by lawyer Robert B. Burns of the Niagara Falls-based law firm of Broderick & Partners and mailed to Smith’s St. Catharines home, is a response to a detailed report Smith distributed to Niagara reginal councillors and others earlier this November. Continue reading

MPP Cindy Forster Welcomes Nominations For Leading Girls &Women In Niagara

News from the Welland Riding Constituency Office of Cindy Forster

Posted November 30th, 2016 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario  – Cindy Forster, MPP is encouraging local schools and community and volunteer organizations to identify nominees for the Leading Women Leading Girls Building Communities Recognition Program now underway.

Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster

Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster

This would include West St. Catharines, Thorold, Welland, Wainfleet, Port Colborne and everything in between. Nominations must be in by Friday, January 13, 2016.

Do you know of a woman or girl who is making a difference in your community?

Since the program was introduced in 2006, more than 650 women and girls across Ontario have been recognized for their leadership qualities. Continue reading