A News Brief from Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
Posted September 25th, 2018
Following more than two years of Niagara citizens, and local municipalities and MPPs demanding an independent audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s operations, it now looks like the findings of that audit will be unveiled within days.
Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk released a one sentence message on Twitter this September 24th that her office will be tabling the details of its special audit on the NPCA this coming Thursday in the provincial legislature.
For all those of you who have been waiting anxiously for the results of this audit, the Auditor General plans to table it sometime around 1 p.m. on Thursday and you may be able to tune in and watch it being tabled in real time if you have access to an Ontario Provincial Legislature channel on Cable television.
Calls for a full and independent audit of the NPCA’s operations intensified across Niagara over the past two years due to continued concerns and questions raised by private citizens, municipal politicians, MPPs and a union representing NPCA employees about hiring and firing practices at the NPCA, about how contracts are awarded and about how spending is otherwise conducted with millions of public tax dollars.
Earlier on these calls for an independent audit by the province were either ignored by NPCA administrators and board members or brushed aside by the same administrators and board members, and by a majority on Niagara’s regional council as various plans were floated that would allow the NPCA to have a hand in the audit.
Demands for a proper audit persisted until the Auditor General finally agreed to step in last false.
One of the more forceful voices for getting the Auditor General’s Office involved was Ed Smith, a retired Ontario Armed Forces officer and St. Catharines resident who found himself being sued by the NPCA in the wake of concerns he raised about its operations and commitment to conservation and environmental protection.
The lawsuit the NPCA filed against Smith was eventually dismissed by an Ontario court judge.
Last fall, Cindy Forster, who was the MPP for Niagara Centre at the time and helped lead the charge for an audit, called the Auditor General’s involvement a necessary step in restoring public confidence in the NPCA.
“This is about transparency, accountability and integrity, and that’s what citizens of Niagara are asking for,” added Forster in October of 2017 when the Auditor General agreed to step in.
Niagara At Large plans on posting detailed news and commentary on the audit when it is released.
We encourage you to check back with Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for coverage of this important development and related matters important to how our services are being governed and our tax dollars are being spent in Niagara.
Here is the September 24th tweet from the Ontario Auditor General’s office –
Our Special Audit of @NPCA_Ontario will be tabled in the Legislature this Thursday, Sept. 27 at about 1 p.m. #onpoli
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