Public Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday, May 8th, 6:30 P.M. at Niagara Falls City Hall
A News Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted April 26th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Niagara Falls, Ontario – Another in a series of public meetings on plans for urban development in Thundering Waters Forest – a meeting that could be among the very last before irreversible decisions are made about the fate of what many Niagara citizens view as one of the richest tracts of natural heritage left in the region – is scheduled for the coming Tuesday, May 8th at Niagara Falls’ City Hall.The May 8th meeting is timed to begin at 6:30 p.m..
And for all those who care about saving what is left of our natural heritage in this Niagara region, please mark this down on your things-to-do calendar too.
That meeting will follow a “free Info session” Niagara area residents have scheduled that same day for 5 p.m. on the Niagara Falls City Hall property, according to a notice one of Niagara’s indigenous leaders on the Thundering Waters Forest issue, Karl Dockstader, has posted on the Save Thundering Waters Facebook site at – https://www.facebook.com/groups/SaveThunderingWatersForest/ .
The citizens’ battle to save not just pieces of, but all of the 484-acre Thundering Waters Forest, with its provincially significant wetlands (PSWs), forested areas and savannah grasses nesting in the Niagara River watershed, rages on.
Sad to say, it is being waged against a long list of our own elected leaders, including the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, a host of Niagara regional politicians and what appears to be a majority on Niagara Falls’ city council, including the mayor, who have lent their support, in one way or another to what is being described as a “multi-use Riverfront community” proposed by China-financed developer, GR (CAN) Investment Co. Ltd.
Opponents of this assault on these rich Thundering Waters lands in Niagara Falls’ southwest end =have made many efforts to appeal to the developer to consider taking the billion-dollar proposal and locate it somewhere else in Niagara Falls where provincially significant wetlands and forested areas and the diversity of wildlife that need them to survive plant are not compromised or destroyed.
There are, just as an example, vacant “brownfield” lands once occupied by industries within the city’s boundaries that may be large enough to accommodate what has been planned for the Thundering Waters lands. But so far, any and all calls by citizens to consider such sites appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Instead, opponents of allowing this urban sprawl here have been wrongly and insultingly branded by our current crop of political leaders as “special interests” who are ‘anti-development’, ‘anti-growth’ and ‘anti-jobs’.
Save for a very few municipal councillors – most notably Niagara Falls city councillors Kim Craitor and Carolynn Ioannoni – there appears to be a majority on the city council who are prepared to move the urbanization plan for Thundering Waters significantly closer to approval, and that is what this May 8th meeting may be all about.
It is just a suggestion, but at this stage in the fight, having tried appealing to the politicians on the grounds of natural heritage preservation and pursuing a smarter plan for this multi-use community somewhere else, it is time to move to the final option with our elected representatives, which is this –
It is time to let them know that it is an election year – provincially this June and municipally this October – and as of now, we are making up lists of who is supporting this plan at this location, and we are going to fire you in the voting booth.
In other words, we are through trying to talk to you about monarch butterflies and salamanders and the vital role wetlands play in a healthy ecosystem, because it is clear that you don’t care about any of that. So now we are going to go after the only thing you do seem to care about – your political job – and we are going to organize armies of people to go door to door across the city and region to vote you out!
It is too bad it has to come to that, but voting politicians out of a job is something that is easy to understand, and it is now beginning to look like it is the only thing most of the current crop we have in municipal and provincial government will understand.
If anyone has a better idea for turning this Thundering Waters proposal around at this point, please share it in the comment space below.
To watch a video on what is at stake in the Thundering Waters Forest campaign, please watch this video produced by some of the dedicated citizens fighting so hard to save this irreplaceable piece of Niagara’s natural heritage –
For more information on the Save Thundering Waters Forest campaign, click on – https://www.facebook.com/groups/SaveThunderingWatersForest/ .
Niagara At Large will have more on Thundering Waters before and after the May 8th meeting.
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