Multiple Calls across Niagara/Hamilton for Audit of Conservation Authority left up in the air
A News Update from Doug Draper, reporter/publisher, Niagara At Large
Posted September 25th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
A spokesperson for Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk confirmed this September 25th that it has turned down a request to do an independent audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s operations.
The Auditor’s Office is not able to audit the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) “at this point in time because we are focused on other audits,” Christine Pedias, the Office’s manager of corporate communications, confirmed during a call from Niagara At Large this September 25th, adding that the Office is now consumed with getting its annual report on provincial operations completed for released later this Fall.
A request for the audit came from the NPCA in the wake of months of pressing from citizens across the region, from area MPPs, and from more than half of the local councils in Niagara and from the council for the City of Hamilton for a thorough, third-party audit of the Conservation Authority’s books.
As Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster put it in an interview on CKTB radio in St. Catharines this September 25th, pressure for such an audit came from local councils and MPPs collectively representing about a million people across the Niagara and Hamilton areas.
Forster said in the radio interview that she is disappointed to learn the Ontario Auditor doesn’t have time now to get to the bottom of a host of concerns and questions that have been raised publicly about NPCA’s hiring and firing practices, its awarding of contracts to private consultants and other matters, but understands the Auditor’s Office is very busy at the moment.
The NPCA, added Forster, should now move forward with hiring a reputable auditing agency and “open up (its) books completely” so that the people of Niagara and Hamilton finally have their concerns and questions addressed.
Until that happens, a “cloud is going to remain over (the) heads of members of the NPCA’s board of directors – a majority of whom are regional councillors and mayors in Niagara – as the months go by to next year’s municipal elections, Forster said.
Niagara At Large will have more news and commentary on this issue as developments unfold, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, you can check out the following news commentary, containing the full text of a media release the NPCA put out this past Friday, September 23, by clicking on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2017/09/23/breaking-news-niagaras-conservation-authority-claims-ontarios-auditor-general-has-turned-down-calls-to-audit-npca-operations/
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