A News Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted December 12th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake may join the City of St. Catharines in calling on the provincial government to launch a thorough investigation and forensic audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
The town council’s support for a motion calling for a full probe of the NPCA is being requested at today, at its Monday, December 12th, by Michael Welsh who sits as chair of the town’s committee of adjustment, but told Niagara At Large in an interview earlier this December 12th that he is making a case for passage of the motion as a private citizen.
“I am coming forward as a private citizen,” added Welsh, a Niagara-on-the-Lake resident,” because I was quite disturbed that the Conservation Authority is going after Mr. Ed Smith legally.”
Welsh was referring to the recent threat the NPCA’s board of directors, chaired by St. Catharines regional councillor, has made in a lawyer’s letter to threaten Smith, a St. Catharines/Niagara citizen for circulating a report raising concerns and questions about the NPCA’s operations, including its hiring, firing and contract tendering practices, in his quest for a full, independent audit of the body.
The legal threat the NPCA board has made against Smith, said Welsh, “is a chill for any citizen bringing forward questions about this Conservation Authority. … This was the straw that broke the back for me.”
The motion Welsh is hoping the council passes contains the same wording as one the St. Catharines unanimously passed this past December 5th and calls on the provincial government – most specifically Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry – to order the forensic audit. It does not ask the NPCA board for the audit, as does a motion passed this December 7th by the Township of Wainfleet council and its mayor, April Jeffs, who also sits as one of the Conservation Authority’s board members.
“I don’t trust the Conservation Authority to do the audit,” Welsh said. “It has to be the province.”
Niagara At Large will be posting the Niagara-on-the-Lake council’s decision on the motion later this December 7th.
In the meantime, google the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s website for contact information for members of the council, to help press for this audit if you want to, and click on the following link for more information about the motion being considered –
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