One of the Last Things Niagara’s Battered Conservation Authority Needs Is Timms’ Continued Presence On Its Board
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted October 25th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
If there was an award we could bestow on the most delusional member in the crowd of Niagara politicians on their way out the door this October, recently defeated St. Catharines regional councillor Bruce Timms would surely rank as a top contender.
Timms, a veteran member of the Region’s council and a member and former chair of Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s (NPCA) board of directors who failed to win one of the city’s six seats on the council in this past Monday, October 22nd’s municipal elections, was quoted in The St. Catharines Standard the following day saying; “What we did right in the last term (of regional council) will stand the test of time.”
What they did RIGHT?!! What on earth is Timms talking about?
Could he be talking about the time last December when, for the first and hopefully last time in this Region’s 49 year-plus history – the notes and computer of a respected reporter for a mainstream daily newspaper in Niagara were illegally seized, right inside the regional headquarters, just before the same reporter – for reasons that were totally unjustified, according to a later Ontario Ombudsman’s report – was ordered off the premises under the watchful eye of police?
How about the unprecedented number of competent and principled upper level staff that either fled the Region on their own or were let go, possibly because they were competent and principled, and then replaced by the likes of CAO Carmen D’Angelo and some of the senior people the Region’s departing chair, Al Caslin, surrounded himself with – whose activities around D’Angelo’s hiring are now the subject of another Ontario Ombudsman’s probe?
Or could Timms be talking about the time last year when Caslin and some of his other council colleagues on the Region’s police board offered then-Niagara Regional Police Jeff McGuire $870,000 plus benefits to leave his job more than two years before his contract ran out.
I could write another 2,000 word opus summarizing all of the achievements of this Region’s council and its cabal over the past four years but let’s spare ourselves.
For those who need a refresher course or are interested in more, I will provide a link at the end of this commentary to a great piece that Standard reporter Grant LaFleche and his fellow newspaper colleagues posted a few days before this October’s municipal elections, titled; ‘Regional Council Chaos – A Timeline of Controversy’.
As for Timms’ prophecy that whatever he imagines the regional council did right over the past four years “will stand the test of time,” let’s hope he is wrong.
There is a reason voters across Niagara turfed an unprecedented number of incumbents out – more than two-thirds of those sitting on the current 31-member regional council – in this October’s municipal elections. They were fed up with the mess this regional council made and they want it cleaned up.
What part of that message did Timms apparently not get? To miss or misread such a resounding message is, in and of itself, delusional.
Which brings me to what I think puts Bruce Timms over the top for the most delusional regional councillor award.
In yet another story, published in The Standard this October 25th, Timms actually says that, despite his weak showing in the municipal elections, he would like to go on sitting on the board of the NPCA.
“I would be interested in doing that. … Yeah, I would,” he was quoted saying in the paper.
As for a recently released Ontario Auditor General’s Report on the NPCA – a reported loaded with findings so scorching about way this public agency has been managed, it is hard to believe the entire board and senior manager would not be summarily sacked if this was a private company – Timms was quoted telling the newspaper this –
“Despite all the bad things the auditor general had to say, she did in her summary start off saying significant improvements have been made since 2012, and they’re continuing,” Timms said.
“We’re improving,” he continued of the NPCA under his and several of his regional council buddies’ tutelage, “and we recognize that her (Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s) recommendations are clear and should be followed. We were headed in that direction. We just got a little tangled up in some overreaction to some of the criticism that was coming our way.”
A little tangle up, indeed.
That’s like someone saying the Titanic had a little brush with an iceberg.
And it is about as believe as Timms going on a CHCH TV news program out of Hamilton a few years ago, while he was still chair of the NPCA’s board, and insisting that a developer can destroy provincially significant wetlands in Niagara Falls’ Thundering Waters Forest and grow back wetlands like them somewhere else “within a few years.”
Anyone who would say thing as outrageous as that when there is little to no scientific proof to back it up, just to help a developer build in and around what little significant wetlands we have left in Niagara, should not be sitting on the board of a Conservation Authority in the first place.
What we need on the board of the NPCA are people who have a passion and expertise for green spaces in and around our watersheds, and for protecting what is left of Niagara’s natural heritage.
One of the first orders of business of our Region’s new council should be to ensure that this important agency is made up of people like that.
As for Timms, I know it has only been a few days since the voters’ rendered their verdict, and for someone who has been in municipal politics as long as he has – a whole 27 years or longer than many people have held a job in the real world – it may be little difficult to face the music.
The music is playing though, councillor. Can you hear it? Do you recognize the song?
It’s called ‘Time to Say Goodbye’.
For a well-put-together timeline on some of the chaos and controversy that occurred on Niagara Region’s council over the past four years, click on – https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news-story/8971714-regional-council-chaos-a-timeline-of-controversy/ .
To watch the CHCH TV news clip where Bruce Timms, as chair of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board, offers an estimate of how long it would take to replace wetlands like the ones in Thundering Waters, click on –http://www.chch.com/niagara-wetland-worries/ .
The read Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s entire Special Report on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s operations under the guidance of managers and a board dominated by Timms and other Niagara regional councillors, click on –http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/specialreports/specialreports/NPCA_en.pdf
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