A Brief Commentary from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper (with a little help from our good readers)
Posted February 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large
In the wake of news this February 21st that David Barrick, one of the most controversial characters in an ongoing nightmare around affairs at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), has made his exist as the public agency’s acting or interim CAO, many citizens across Niagara were quick to say they are pleased to see him go.
Many citizens say they also want to know how much of our municipal tax dollars Barrick may have received in what has been called by West Lincoln Mayor and NPCA board chair Dave Bylsma as a “mutual separation agreement” between lawyers for Barrick and the Conservation Authority.
And fair warning to Bylsma and the 11 other Niagara regional councillors and mayors on the NPCA board. The clear message we at Niagara At Large are getting is that many citizens are not taking word that the cost of the agreement with Barrick cannot be disclosed for an answer.
The public demand for disclosure of how much this settlement has cost area taxpayers, we predict, is only going to grow.
Because this isn’t a private corporation we are talking about here. The NPCA is a public agency, financed with millions of our tax dollars, and when it comes to how those dollars are spent, the principle at work here could not be more fundamental. The public has every right to know.
In the meantime, reaction to the news of Barrick’s exit from the NPCA continue to come our way, including this one from Liz Benneian, executive director of A Better Niagara, a region-wide citizens network that has been keeping a critical eye on the goings-on at the Conservation Authority –
“With Barrick gone,” said Benneian, “there is now a possibility to rebuild the Conservation Authority. The new board took many positive actions at their board meeting on Wednesday, February 20th) and they have renewed the hope of citizens that Niagara may eventually have a professional, effective and highly functioning Conservation Authority again.”
Then there were some words that came in the form of a comment to a news report Niagara At Large posted this February 21st on Barrick’s departure from Don Alexander, who served on one of Niagara’s first regional council and who is someone I came to know through my years as an environment reporter at The St. Catharines Standard as a passionate supporter of efforts to protect and preserve what is left of Niagara’s natural heritage.
I leave you here with Don Alexander’s response to some official comments Barrick released this February 21st, on his way out the door. The words that are all capped are Don’s doing –
“In his boastful bye bye, (David) Barrick tells us that during “his time”, there were “net surpluses”, “financial health”, ” increased investment capital”, and “operational reserves replenished”.
ALL OF THAT MONEY-CENTRED BUSINESS WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY COMPLETELY DISRESPECTING THE MAIN CONSERVATION GOALS OF A CONSERVATION AUTHORITY.
THE BOTTOM LINE EMPHASIS HAS DRAGGED OUR AUTHORITY TO THE VERY BOTTOM OF THE SWAMP.
And then Barrick says he’s “moving forward to other opportunities”.
Wanna’ bet those opportunities involve another Doug Ford provincial appointment to a plush post?
- Don Alexander
– Don Alexander is a St. Catharines resident and was an, elected member of Niagara Regional Council from 1973 to 1976 when a term of council lasted three (not the current four) years and when discussion and debate in the council chambers was far more civil than it has been in recent years.
Don Alexander also has a background in planning and has served the community in many ways over the years, including sitting on the Niagara Escarpment Commission, a body with a responsibility for good environmental stewardship on Niagara Escarpment lands.
Niagara At Large will have more on what is going down in and around the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in the days ahead, and will certainly be following efforts to find out how much the Barrick ‘separation agreement’ cost the people of Niagara, and we will keep the pressure on for disclosure of this information too.
For a news commentary Niagara At Large posted this February 22nd on David Barrick’s exit from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/02/22/updated-one-of-niagaras-most-controversial-public-figures-david-barrick-and-the-npca-have-finally-parted-ways/
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