‘It is just the right thing to do. …to demand more transparency and accountability from this body.’ – Niagara Falls, Ontario city councillor Carolynn Ioannoni
By Doug Draper
Posted December 6th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – A member of another municipal council in Niagara is planning to table a motion – passed unanimously by St. Catharines council this December 5th – that calls on the Ontario government to get going on a full investigation and forensic audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
This week it was the council of St. Catharines that discussed and ultimately passed a motion demanding a thorough audit of the NPCA in the wake of growing public questions and concerns about how it spends millions of dollars annually of money it receives from municipalities across Niagara and the Hamilton and Haldimand regions.
Next week – on Tuesday, December 13th – Niagara Falls city councillor Carolynn Ioannoni told Niagara At Large that she plans to table a motion similar to the one tabled this December 5th by St. Catharines city councillor Bruce Williamson.
That motion was passed by all 13 members of the St. Catharines council, including the mayor, after the NPCA’s chair Bruce Timms, argued that such an audit would be a waste of time and money because the Conservation Authority already a financial statement on its operations annually.
Niagara Falls city councillor Carolynn Ioannoni said she[s planning to introduce the motion at her council because “it is just the right thing to do. … It is about following the lead of St. Catharines here in calling for more transparency and accountability from this body. There are too many questions that need to be answered.
Earlier this past November Welland MPP Cindy Forster also called on the provincial government to see that a thorough forensic audit is carried out due to concerns she says she has received from numerous Niagara residents about hirding and firing practices, contracts that have been tendered, property transactions and other matters involving the NPCA.
The motion that St. Catharines council passed this December 5th and that Ioannoni is planning to table for possible approval this coming Tuesday, December 13th reads as follows – ”
WHEREAS the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority(NPCA), a Provincial agency operating in the Regions of Niagara and Haldimand County and the City of Hamilton, is funded largely by the Region of Niagara; and
WHEREAS the City of St. Catharines is the single largest local tier municipal contributor of public funds to the Region of Niagara and, therefore, the largest contributor to the NPCA’s funding;
WHEREAS, serious questions have been raised about the financial and human resource management of the NPCA; and
WHEREAS, serious questions have been raised about the functioning of the NPCA in upholding its duty to fulfill the legislative mandate, as set out for it in Section 20 of The Conservation Authorities Act, “to establish and undertake programs designed to balance the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources.” ; and
WHEREAS, Niagara MPPs and citizens have called for a forensic audit of the NPCA’s business practices; and
WHEREAS the people of the City of St. Catharines, the Region of Niagara and the Province of Ontario deserve openness and accountability as to how their tax dollars are being spent and how effectively our natural environment is being protected;
Therefore be it resolved, Council requests a letter be sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, with copies distributed to all Niagara MPPs, the Niagara Region, local tier municipalities in Niagara, Haldimand County and the City of Hamilton, urging the Province to immediately initiate an appropriately thorough investigation and forensic audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
If you wish to join others in urging members of Niagara Falls city council to vote “yes” to this motion, let them know by getting in touch with them. You can find their phone numbers and email addresses by clicking on – https://www.niagarafalls.ca/city-hall/council/members.aspx .
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