Author Archives: dougdraper

Fort Erie Grieves with our Good Neighbours in Buffalo, New York

A Statement from Fort Erie (Ontario) Mayor Wayne Redekop:

Posted May 16th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

An image of Fort Erie’s shores in the foreground with Buffalo in the background and the Peace Bridge joining them as it crosses over the upper waters of the Niagara River

FORT ERIE in Niagara, Ontario – “The residents of Fort Erie are shocked and horrified at the senseless shooting of innocent people in Buffalo.

“The knowledge that the shooter was racially motivated is extremely troubling.  There is no place for hate and racism in our societies. 

“We grieve with the families of those killed and maimed (this past Saturday, May 14th), and all residents of the City of Good Neighbours. We all have an obligation to speak out against and oppose the ideologies that promote hate, racism and discrimination. Continue reading

A Gift of Music from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra “for our Buffalo Community”

From the Buffalo Philharmonic(BPO) in Buffalo, New York

Posted May 16th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Our hearts are with you

One of many makeshift memorials left near the scene of the mass shooting

There is no room for hate and prejudice in our society. 

The Buffalo Philharmonic is horrified and saddened by the senseless tragedy that took place this past weekend.

As our community grieves together, we would like to share the healing power of music with George Walker’s Lyric for Strings.

To watch and listen please click on the screen below –

To visit the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s website, click on – 

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Remembering Niagara’s Doug Rapelje – A Model Citizen and a Super-Model Public Servant

A Brief Remembrance by Doug Draper, followed by a 2020 Tribute to Doug Rapelje upon his receiving the Niagara regional government’s T. Roy Adams Humanitarian Award

Posted May 16th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

In the neighbourhood where I grew up in the west end of Welland and where he and his family lived for a while, everyone loved them.

Doug Rapelje – a model of the kind of public servant working in the best interest of us all

“You could not ask for better neighbours,” I heard my parents and others in the neighbourhood say.

The father figure or dad in that good family was Doug Rapelje and years later, when I began working as a reporter at The St. Catharines Standard, I crossed paths with him again – this time working as an administrator for Niagara’s regional government as a passionate, tireless champion of quality pubic services for senior citizens.

Even after he retired from the Region, he volunteered his time to making life better for seniors and by doing so he more than embodied the meaning of the term; “above and beyond the call of duty.”

Public servants have received more knocks than usual in recent years – especially at the Niagara regional level of government from 2014 through 2018 when the Al Caslin administration (or “cabal” as many came to call it) was in charge at Regional Headquarters and in the offices of partner agencies like the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). Continue reading

Tears for Buffalo and its People

“This is the worst nightmare that could come to a community and we are hurting.”                                                       – Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo, New York

A Comment from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 15th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

A popular place for grocery shopping turns into a blood-soaked crime scene.

As the cable news channels continued to report the “breaking news” out of Buffalo, New York this past Saturday afternoon, the skies in that city turned from bright sunny and blue to grey, and rain started falling.

It was as if the heavens were shedding tears on this “City of Good Neighbours.”

As I am sure most, if not all of you know by now, a horror that has visited far too many cities and towns across the United States visited Buffalo this Saturday, May 15 with a mass shooting that murdered 10 people and wounded three others in a Tops’ grocery store in a neighbourhood that is a few minutes’ drive from the downtown core. Continue reading

If We, The People, Don’t Stand Up For Our Natural Heritage, No One Else Will

It Was Everyday Citizens – Not Politicians and Surely Not Developers – That Won Some Concessions in the Fight to Save Waverly Woods along the Shores of our Great Lakes in Fort Erie, Ontario

A Comment from Fort Erie resident Linda McKellar

Posted May 13th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

We have elections this year, provinciall elections this June and municipal elections this October, and it is time to sweep out those who don’t work to save what is left of our natural heritage.

Power to the people.

The public must stand up to those who care only about the almighty dollar and don’t care what invaluable treasures they destroy! This was a grass roots movement that average citizens researched for over four years and they worked hard to attain at least some concessions.

If the average person doesn’t speak up and fight for their towns and their special uniqueness, nobody else will. When it’s gone it’s gone forever!!!!!

Everyone needs to stand up to any greedy individuals who have little or no regard for communities, the people who live there, the history, the natural beauty, the serenity and the wildlife. They create havoc in one place and move on to the next one with pocketsful of cash. They just don’t care!

Unfortunately, such people have the money to fight the average Joe’s and Jill’s of the world. Continue reading

Settlement  Has Been Reached in Waverly Woods Development Plan Case in Fort Erie

‘Community Voices’ Citizens Group Pleased with Additional Protection and Wildlife Connections

A News Release from Community Voices of Fort Erie, a citizen group dedicated to saving Waverly Woods in Fort Erie, Niagara

Posted May 12th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Fort Erie, Ontario —Community Voices of Fort Erie Inc. (“CVFE”) is pleased to announce a settlement with 800460 Ontario Ltd. and the Town of Fort Erie over the longstanding dispute over the development of a proposed 236-unit Harbourtown subdivision on the shore of Lake Erie at Waverly Woods.

Inside Waverly Woods in the summer of 2021. It has been a natural haven for many during the pandemic. File photo by Doug Draper

After more than two weeks at the hearing, the parties reached a deal that will see a significant increase from 2.8 to 3.4 ha of Environmentally Protected lands on site, the closure of Lakeshore Road near the lake, creation of vernal pools for amphibian breeding and an increase in the setback of the proposed tower from Waverly Woods.

“Our experts recommended the settlement and a number of additions to the development that will improve conditions for the Fowler’s Toad, Red-headed Woodpecker and other important species. This was our primary motivation all along in launching the appeal,” said Marcie Jacklin, CVFE’s President.

“We’re particularly pleased that the closure of Lakeshore and added Environmentally Protected lands will really make a difference for Fowler’s Toad recovery. It’s now up to the Town and the Conservation Authority to create new habitat along the Friendship Trail that will need swift action in the coming weeks,” Jacklin added. Continue reading

Ontario Greens Launch Fully-Costed 2022 Election Platform

The Green Plan: New Solutions To Old Problems

A News Release from the Green Party of Ontario

Posted May 12th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner

TORONTO — This May 12th, Leader Mike Schreiner launched The Green Plan: New solutions to old problems ahead of the June election.

“Our vision is for the Ontario we all want — caring, connected, and ready for the new climate economy,” Schreiner said at the announcement in Toronto alongside Deputy Leaders Dianne Saxe and Abhijeet Manay. “And with our full slate of strong, diverse candidates, we have the leadership ready to deliver on it.”

“We need new solutions to the decades-long problems that the old-line parties have simply failed to solve.” Continue reading

Another Ontario Election, Another Promise to Lower Auto Insurance Rates

The NDP May Be the Go-To Party to Cut Rates, But Will They? Can They?

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 12th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

It must be election time in Ontario because here we voters are again, facing another promise from one of the provincial parties to lower those bank-busing auto insurance rates.


Maybe I’ve been around too long, covering too many elections, but I’ve heard promises to lower auto insurance rates before and nothing ever comes from them.

The first time I recall hearing this promise in a big way was back around 1990 when the Ontario New Democratic Party, then led by Bob Rae who would later switch to the federal Liberals and now serves as Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, promised lower rates as part of a grander plan to and a larger plan to switch to a not-for-profit public insurance system across the province. Continue reading

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik Has Set His Own Term Limits, And It Is Two

The St. Catharines Mayor has Announced he will Not be Running for a Third Term as Mayor in this October’s Municipal Election 

A  News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 10th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

In an announcement Walter Sendzik made this May 10th through his city’s local newspaper, The St. Catharines Standard, he said he will not be running for a third as the city’s mayor in this October’s municipal elections.

Sendzik explained during an interview with The Standard that he told himself when he first ran in 2014 for the top office of Niagara’s largest municipality that he would only serve two four-year terms.

“I do think the role of a public official, the person who is elected, shouldn’t be a career job,” Sendzik was quoted saying in the interview. I don’t think it was ever designed to be a career job.”

Perhaps that is an idea that should become infectious in Niagara. One wonders what Mayors Jim Diodati of Niagara Falls (now serving his third term as mayor), Frank Campion of Welland (now serving his second term) and Wayne Redekop of Fort Erie (now serving his fifth term) awould think of that? Continue reading

Canada’s Prime MinisterMakes Unannounced Visit to War-Torn Ukraine

“As Russia continues its ongoing illegal and unjustifiable war against Ukraine, Canada will continue to be there to support Ukraine and its people. I would like to thank President Zelenskyy for hosting this visit, but also more importantly, for his leadership. Together with Ukrainians, President Zelenskyy is defending the values at the very heart of democracies. His courage and the courage of Ukrainians is inspiring, and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure Ukraine gets the support it needs.”                                           

  –  Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A News Release from Canada’s Office of the Prime Minister

Posted May 9th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

, Ukraine – This May 8th, Canada sends a resounding message to the world that we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and its people.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today visited Kyiv, Ukraine, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia  Freeland, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, accompanied the  Prime Minister.

Earlier (this May 9th), the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs participated in a flag raising ceremony to mark the re-opening

of the Canadian Embassy in Ukraine. Ambassador Larisa Galadza, together with a team of additional staff members, will resume diplomatic operations in Kyiv, Ukraine as part of a gradual restoring of Canada’s full diplomatic presence and services. Until further notice, consular and immigration services will continue to be provided in Poland and many other European cities in the region. Continue reading

Provincial Liberals Release What They Claim to Be a Fully Costed Platform for ‘Growing Ontario’ in Years Ahead

Ontario Liberals Are Like the Deja Vu of Dalton McGuinty and Kalthleen Wynne All Over Again, And Who Wants That Culteru of Screw You, We’re in Charge Here in Ontario  Arrogance Back?

A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted May 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca was a dutiful member of the McGuinty’Wynne Liberal team. Now he wants us to believe he is an answer for our future.

Ontario Liberal Leader (why do I have to keep looking up his name) Steven Del Duca) released his party’s full platform this Monday,  May 9th.

The third party’s challenged communications gurus attempted to circulate a copy of the platform to news outlets today but, compared to news circulated by the governing Ford Government and NDP, information about the platform was hard to get to.

Perhaps that makes sense given the fact that going back to the earlier years of this relatively new century, when the Ontario Liberals were in power under the smug, dictatorial leadership of Dalton McGuinty and his sycophant Kathleen Wynne, almost anything resembling openness and transparency when it came to information the public had a right to know was in short supply anyway.

However, according to one Global News report, “ Continue reading

All Aboard! An Ontario NDP Government Will Make The GO train Stop In Grimsby

“People in Grimsby have been asking their government for a GO station for over a decade. They want and deserve better transit connections. … We’ll finally get the train to stop in Grimsby. ”       – Niagara West Riding NDP candidate Dave Augustyn

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP

Posted May 9th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

GRIMSBY — An NDP government will construct a Grimsby GO Station and make sure families get access to frequent and reliable GO train service, said NDP leader Andrea Horwath and Niagara West NDP candidate Dave Augustyn.

“People in Grimsby want and deserve better access to GO Transit to get to work, school or wherever else they need to go,” said Horwath.

“Families have been waiting for years for a GO station in Grimsby. Doug Ford and the Del Duca Liberals refused to give this community access to GO trains and reliable all-day service. An NDP government will invest in better public transit and make sure Grimsby families get the GO station they need to make their commutes easier.” Continue reading

Doug Ford Has Enlisted Climate Change Deniers in Bid to Crush Ontario Young People in Court

Ontario government relying on climate change deniers in court case against youth

Ontario’s chosen experts question basic climate science and dismiss Ontario’s responsibility to lower emissions

A News Release from Environmental Defence, a Canada-based citizens goup

Posted May 9th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – The Ontario government solicited expert testimony from a known climate change denier to defend its poor record on climate action, in a court challenge brought from seven Ontario youth.

The youth are arguing that the Government of Ontario violated their charter rights when it rolled back targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The provincial government also solicited evidence from an economist who believes that Ontario’s actions have little to no impact on Canada’s overall emissions and, therefore, the province bears no responsibility for the damages caused by climate change. Continue reading

Top U.S. Court Orders American Women to Wear Burkas

Following the Supreme Court’s Draft Ruling on Abortion, Another Body Blow to the Rights of Women – Just in Time for Mother’s Day

A Brief One by Doug Draper 

Posted May 9th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

I admit that it’s been a while since I’ve been to a doctor to have my ears syringed but, but I thought I just heard on a television I have on in the background that the U.S. Supreme Court has ordered all American women to wear burkas when they are out of their homes.

Sorry, I made the mistake of assuming that this was U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some of her female  members of her Democratic Party caucus covered in these burkas. But how are you supposed to tell? As it turns out,, no burkas  for American women yet,

The burka ruling comes just a week after a draft ruling was leaked showing that a majority of the mostly Republican-appointed Justices on the Supreme Court are moving to overturn Roe v. Wade, an almost 50 year old ruling from the Court that allows American women the right to have an abortion.

For those who don’t know what a burka is, it is a garment that covers a woman’s entire body and leaves her looking like some combination of a pup tent and a beehive keeper, which might make sense if we weren’t living through a time when bee populations are plummeting due to pesticide use, habitat loss and other climate-related causes. Continue reading

Ford Tories Are Driving All of Us in Ontario Down the Highway to Bankruptcy

And Few, If Any, In Ontario’s Business Community Seem to Give a Damn or Seem Willing to Pay More Taxes to Cover the Cost

A  News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 6th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Roads, highways and bridges! Bridges, highways and roads!

Get out the heavy machinery and plough through more of our crop lands and woodlands to build ever more highways. Is that what we still want in the third decade of a 21st Century faced with a highly destructive climate crisis? Apparently a good number of  his business supporters and others in Ontario do.

Since the 2022 Ontario election officially got started in these first days of May, Premier Doug Ford and his Conservatives have made a highly-orchestrated point of standing on green fields where they want highways built and empathize how much they view spending multiple billions of our dollars on every more roads, highways and bridges as a centre piece of their vision in this third decade of the 21st century of economic growth for Ontario. Continue reading

For Doug Ford, It Is About Building More Highways and Roads Across Ontario

Ford Boasts That He Is Not Going to Let Anything Stop Him From Pouring Pavement

On First Day of Ontario Election Campaign, Ford Says He Won’t Let Anything Get In Way of Cutting Thru Geenlands and Pouring Pavement

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted May 4th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

“We’ll cut through all the excuses, all the obstacles and delays and it’s time to start pouring the concrete.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford on May 4th, 2022 election launch

Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford and his Conservatives now seem on their way, according to polls, to winning a second majority in this June 2nd’s provincial election.

And among other things, he is staking a big win on building more roads and highways, even through greenlands and wetlands.

Given Ford’s base, which includes a disproportionate number of older Ontarians who live in a culture of roads and highways and car dependency, he may very well be right to assume that their support is enough to win him a second term of government.

Here is Doug Ford’s opening election address, delivered at a site for a proposed Highway 413. To watch it, click on the screen below –

My fear is that Ford is right in assuming that a majority of Ontario voters will want more roads and highways, even if it means that the billions of dollars it will cost to build them will not go to other services.

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Slams Top Court’s Attack on Women’s Rights

A Statement by Brian Higgins, U.S. Congressman for the Buffalo, New York area followed by a Commentary by NAL’s Doug Draper

Posted May 3rd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

On Draft Decision by United States Supreme Court to Strike Down Roe v. Wade

Buffalo, New York area Democratic Party Congressman Brian Higgins

(Buffalo, New York area) Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) released the following statement in response to a draft decision by the United States Supreme Court which would overturn Roe v. Wade:

“The Supreme Court is on the verge of decimating the rights of women across our country.

“A ruling to completely strike down Roe v. Wade, which has been in place for over 50 years, is a gross backslide of a grueling fight for progress and signals a forewarning that equal rights in America universally are in danger.”

A Brief Footnote and Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

Time For Rest of Us to Tell Extreme Right-Wing, Anti-Abortion Fanatics to Stand Down

Continue reading

Canada’s Prime Minister Pays Tribute to Key Role Journalists Play in Democracy on ‘World Press Freedom Day’

A Statement from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Posted May 3rd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this May 3rd) issued the following statement on World Press Freedom Day:

“Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we honour the many journalists here in Canada and around the world who work tirelessly to seek out and report on the truth. We also reaffirm our longstanding commitment to the freedom of the press – a foundational pillar of our democracy – and recognize those who have been injured or lost their lives defending freedom of the press.

“While Canada enjoys a strong and free press, we know that this is not the case everywhere – many journalists face censorship, intimidation, violence, imprisonment, and false arrests. This year alone, many journalists were killed and hundreds imprisoned in the line of duty around the world. This serves as reminder that we must continue to advocate for journalists and for a strong and free press. Continue reading

Ontario’s Election Is Officially On and Polls Predict a BIG WIN for Ford

Do You Really Want Another Four Years of Ford Government?

A  Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 2nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

So far, it looks like Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Conservatives are laughing their way to a Big Win in this spring’s provincial election.

I know that there are more than a few people out there who put little stock in polls when it comes to predicting the outcome of elections.

Then there is that old line that the only poll that really counts is the one when the final votes are counted on Election Day. As hard a line it is to argue with, it is most often used by those who find the party they support running behind in the polls.

As a journalist who’s had a hand in covering more elections than I care to count, I have my issues with polls too – not least of which is what appears to the a practice of too many news outlets (especially in recent years) to substitute stories on polls for good, in-depth coverage of the candidates and their policies.

That being said, it is hard to ignore polls completely, just as it is hard to ignore the fact that over the years, pollsters have become better at forecasting elections with a high degree of accuracy. Continue reading

It’s Time To Make Building New Superhighways In Ontario’s Greenbelt Illegal

“These highways would also increase pressure to allow new industrial, commercial and residential development along them, while also crossing and polluting hundreds of waterways, fragmenting forests and farms, filling in wetlands and creating a death trap for many wildlife species.”

A Message from Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, and the Wilderness Committee

Posted May 2nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Environmental Groups say: Enough is Enough. It’s time to make building new Superhighways in the Greenbelt illegal

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – New multi-lane superhighways threaten the farms, forests and wetlands of the Greenbelt and need to be banned to protect Ontario’s water, air, food, wildlife, access to nature and our climate.

This is why five organizations are calling on all political parties in Ontario’s June 2nd election to commit to making a legislative amendment to the Greenbelt Act to ban new multi-lane highways from being built through the Greenbelt. Continue reading

Thinking About Running In The 2022 Municipal Election?

A Reminder About an Online Workshop – This Tuesday, May 3d at 7 P.M.  – For You

Posted May 2nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

To read a related piece Niagara At Large posted on this event, click on –

About A Better Niagara – A Better Niagara is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with a mandate to encourage civic engagement and municipal public participation in Niagara.

Formed by a desire to see transparency and accountability in municipal politics A Better Niagara is committed to a Niagara that is more democratic, more equal and more open.

For more on A Better Niagara, click on –

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Just In Time for Ontario’s Spring Election, Shovels in Ground for New West Niagara Hospital

“After decades of inaction by previous governments, our government is getting it done for the people of West Niagara.”     – Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

“Promise made, promise kept – shovels are in the ground for our new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.”                                                 – Niagara West Conservative Government MPP Sam Oosterhoff

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara West Conservative MPP Same Oosterhoff

Posted April 30th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

GRIMSBY, Ontario  – Shovels are in the ground to build a new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby.

The Government of Ontario has approved the start of construction to begin on the new Hamilton Health Sciences site following the closing of the project contract between Ellis Don Infrastructure Healthcare, Hamilton Health Sciences and Infrastructure Ontario on April 29, 2022. 

During the next three years, Ellis Don Infrastructure Healthcare will design, build and finance the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital redevelopment project.

From left to right at ground-breaking, Andrew Smith, Chair, Take It To The Finish Campaign; Kevin Antonides, Chair, West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation; Tony Joosse, Co-Chair, Save and Rebuild Campaign; Sandra Easton, Mayor, Town of Lincoln; Sam Oosterhoff, MPP Niagara West; Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences; Mary Volk, Board Member, Hamilton Health Sciences; Jeff Jordan, Mayor, Town of Grimsby; Dave Bylsma, Mayor, Township of West Lincoln

On behalf of the Government of Ontario, Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West, made the announcement today at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.  MPP Oosterhoff was joined at the podium by Sandra Easton, Mayor of the Town of Lincoln; Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences, and other key representatives from the hospital, West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation and West Niagara community. Continue reading

4,700 New Native Trees To Be Planted At Two-Mile Creek Conservation Area in NOTL

A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted May 1st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) will continue a forest and stream rehabilitation project at the Two-Mile Creek Conservation Area in Niagara-on-the-Lake this May.

This work will see the planting of 4,700 new native trees in the cherished conservation area.

Photo courtesy of Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Phase one of this project took place last summer, with a tree-clearing operation to remove the dominant ash tree forest decimated by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Fallen trees and logs in the watercourse were also removed to improve flow and address large creek debris and flooding concerns.

While the largest debris was cleaned up, some dead trees and other smaller, messy debris were intentionally left behind to provide habitat features for birds, bats, and other wildlife that call the area home. Continue reading

Ontario Green Party Gongs Ford’s ‘Pro-Sprawl, Anti-Climate’ Budget

A News Release from the Green Party of Ontario

Posted April 29th, 2022 on Niagara At Large


Full of old ideas we don’t want, Doug Ford’s pro-sprawl, anti-climate budget is out of touch with what Ontarians want.

The government says if it’s re-elected it will invest money in highways, cars, and sprawl. These are old ideas Ontario can’t afford.

This $198.6B budget is selling Ontarians a bill of goods. Minister Bethlenfalvy announced investments in “clean steel” — a disastrous fairy tale that will only increase Ontario’s emissions — an increase in housing supply without measures to lower costs, and the same calamitous highways we’ve been fighting against for years. Continue reading

Ford Government’s Pre-Election Budget is a Bust for Environmental Protection

“The 16 lanes of asphalt highway on the cover of today’s budget tell Ontarians everything they need to know about the government’s environmental agenda. This budget would commit billions to environmentally disastrous projects like Highway 413, the Bradford Bypass, and the widening of Highway 417 that will destroy Greenbelt, farmland, and endangered species habitat, worsen car traffic, and keep our existing suburbs mired in car-dependency for decades to come.”                                                             – Phil Pothen, Ontario Environment Program Manager, Environmental Defence

Experts for citizen group Environmental Defence react to the 2022 Ontario budget

News from Environmental Defence

Posted April 29th, 2022 on Niagara At Larg

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation –

Keith Brooks, Programs Director:

Ontario’s Budget 2022 shows once again that this government doesn’t care about the environment. The environmental elements of the budget are mainly focused on building more highways and encouraging more people to drive by cutting the gas tax, removing tolls, and eliminating license fees, none of which are new announcements.

The budget also celebrates that businesses will be paying over a billion dollars less for their pollution, thanks to the government’s cancellation of the cap-and-trade program. This government has wasted millions tearing up green energy projects and fighting against climate change policy. This head-in-the sand budget dooms us to billions more in climate damages in the years to come Continue reading

Ford’s Pre-Election Budget Slammed for Failing to Address Housing Crisis in Niagara

Niagara’s Four Ontario NDP candidates react to Ford’s refusal to address affordability in budget

News from the Ontario New Democratic Party

Posted Apri 28th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

NIAGARA, Ontario – Niagara’s NDP MPPs Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines), Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre), Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls), and NDP candidate Dave Augustyn (Niagara West) were dismayed that Doug Ford has tabled a election platform masquerading as a budget with $2.7 billion in cuts to services people rely on, while refusing to address the housing and affordability crises in Niagara Region.

Niagara West Ontario NDP candidate Dave Augustyn

“Niagara families needed to see a budget that made building affordable housing a priority and provided assistance for young families trying to buy their first home – but it is clear that Doug Ford’s budget will once again only make life easier for his developer buddies, and it does nothing for families.

“We have a housing crisis in Niagara – people from our own community literally cannot afford to buy a home here. Parents are watching as their kids have no choice but to leave the community they were raised in. The problem is worse now than four years ago, and families — especially young families — are paying the price,” said Stevens. Continue reading

Niagara, Ontario’s Major Business Chamber Finds Ford Government Budget Mostly Encouraging

 “We are encouraged to see Government of Ontario’s pledge to build 1.5 million homes over the next ten years and their extensive commitment to building highways and public transit. These are valued steps to address some of our members’ concerns.”                     – Mishka Balsom, CEO, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC)

Niagara, Ontario – Mishka Balsom, CEO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), today released the following statement:

Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce CEO Mishka Balsom

“Over the past few months, the GNCC conducted extensive provincial budget consultations with businesses across Niagara to determine the key pressure points for our economic recovery and growth. Our members identified significant inflation concerns, labour shortages, ongoing supply chain interruptions amplified by war, red tape challenges, and the housing crisis. Continue reading

City Nature Challenge Starts in St. Catharines this April 29th, Runs Through Weekend

‘The challenge is an opportunity for residents to enjoy nature while making important discoveries that will help scientists to better understand and protect nature.’

News from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 28th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines residents are set to take on one of the world’s largest citizen science events by joining the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge once again this spring. 

From April 29 to May 2, residents will participate in an intense weekend of biological surveying as they join citizens from across the globe in the four-day bio blitz.  

The challenge is an opportunity for residents to enjoy nature while making important discoveries that will help scientists to better understand and protect nature. Participants will record and submit as many species as possible within the St. Catharines boundary followed by a week of identifying what was found using the free iNaturalist app.    Continue reading

Join A Workshop On How to Run for Municipal Office in Niagara and Win!

The Niagara-wide, non-partisaan citizens group, A Better Niagara, will be holding candidate training sessions for the upcoming (October 2022) municipal elections

An Invite from A Better Niagara

Posted April 28th, 2022 on Niagara At large

Passionate about your community? Want to make a difference?

If you are considering running in the next Municipal election, here’s your chance to get valuable information to help you make an informed decision.

Join us for a municipal election workshop this coming Tuesday, May 3rd7 to 8:30 p.m.

In this pre-election workshop you will hear from those who have successfully run for office about what managing a campaign and being an elected representative is like. Continue reading

They Are ‘Our Great Lakes’ If We Can Fork Out the Money to Walk a Beach – No Money, No Beach!

In Niagara, the Message from Private Lakeshore owners and Local Municipalities  Seems to Be – Pay Up Or Get the Hell Off the Beach

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted April 27th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

This is how those who don’t own land along the Great Lakes shores in Niagara are treated – ‘ No Tresspassing” or, for short, ‘get the hell out.’. So much for ‘Our Great Lakes’.

For more than four decades, this reporter – in my capacity as one covering environmental issues – has encouraged us all to do what we can to protect our Great Lakes.

But it is getting harder and harder for me to do that any more because these Great Lakes apparently do not belong to us.

They belong to federal and provincial governments that want to fill them full of fingerlings so that they may be exploited as a multi-billion dollar commercial and sport fishery.

And they belong to municipalities in Niagara and elsewhere that want to exploit them for revenue by charging residents in our region and other regions of the Great Lakes fees to walk on the beach. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Has Kept Just 37 Per Cent of Its 2018 Campaign Promises

Province’s NDP Leader Promises to Restore Integrity in Government

“It’s time for a government that works for you and your family — not for themselves and their buddies.”                                                       – Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP Leader

News from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted April 26th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Doug Ford made promises and enough Ontarians believed him to elect him once. Polls suggest they will elect him again. Now there is something to laugh about.

TORONTO – Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath is committing to a number of changes to restore integrity in Ontario’s government.

“It’s been a rough few years. People who are looking for an affordable place to live have been hurt by a government helping developers who donate to their party, instead of families who need a home. People who are calling for investment in autism services have to watch millions in public dollars go out the door to fund partisan ads.”

We all have to watch and worry as the line between being a lobbyist and being a senior advisor to Doug Ford has been wiped away,” said Horwath.

“It’s time for a government that works for you and your family — not for themselves and their buddies.” Continue reading

Rising COVID-19 Patient Load Causes Niagara Health to Ramp Down Surgical Program

Niagara Health surgical program temporarily ramping down to 70% capacity

Patients who are impacted will be contacted by their surgical team

News from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted April 25th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario  – We are experiencing growing pressures with patient volumes and staff and physician illness, resulting in the need to adjust our operations to ensure we can provide emergency, critical and acute care to our patients using the resources available to us.

Today (this April 25th), our surgical program needs to temporarily ramp down to 70% capacity. This measure will allow Niagara Health to use these beds to care for COVID-19 positive patients and other patients with urgent needs. Continue reading

Ontario’s New Democratic Party Releases Comprehensive Platform for this Spring’s Election

NDP Platform –  Strong. Ready. Working For You – Focuses On Fixing And Expanding Health Care, And Making Life More Affordable

News from the Office of Ontariio’s Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted April 25th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

TORONTO — The (Ontario) NDP has released a comprehensive election platform that lays out a plan to fix the things that matter most to people — including expanding OHIP so people can get mental health care, dental care and prescriptions with their OHIP card, not their credit card.

“The last few years have been tough. People are waiting in pain because our health care system is on its knees. And folks are working harder than ever while the cost of living and the cost of homes makes it impossible to get ahead,” said Horwath.

“But it really doesn’t have to be this way. Ontario is the greatest place in the world to live, and together we can start to fix the things that have been broken — the things that matter most to everyday people.” Continue reading

Fighting To Save a Treasured Tract of Niagara’s Historical and Natural Heritage from Developers in Fort Erie

This April 25th an Ontario Land Tribunal Hearing Begins that May Decide the Fate of a Popular Green Place Known As Waverly Woods

A Commentary by Maria Featherston, a Fort Erie resident and member of Community Voices of Fort Erie, a citizen’s group now fighting a David vs. Goliath battle to save Waverly Woods

Posted April 23rd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Inside the tree canopy of Waverly Woods, a beautiful green area along the shores of Lake Erie in Fort Erie, Niagara, and a much beloved destination for people on both sides of the Niagara River. File photo by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Four years ago, a small group named Community Voices of Fort Erie was formed to do battle over a beautiful piece of property named Waverly Woods.

They do not have great amounts of money or power; they are just ordinary citizens, like your neighbours, but they have a strong sense of purpose.

Starting Monday morning, April 25, their lawyer and team of experts will attempt to convince an LPAT (Ontario Land Tribunal) hearing that the planned subdivision with its condo should not go ahead.

What makes Waverly Woods so special?

It is a microcosm of Canadian history, beginning with indigenous history thousands of years ago on the site. During the War of 1812, Erie Beach/ Waverly Woods played a significant role, especially during the Siege of Fort Erie August 14-15, 1814, which was described by an American officer as “a great slaughter.” Continue reading

Prime Mnister’s Earth Day Message Stresses our Collective Responsibility to Protect the Environment

‘When we protect our planet, everyone benefits. We deliver clean air, we create good middle-class jobs, and we ensure our children and grandchildren can inherit the natural landscapes we are so proud of as Canadians.”                                                                                – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Posted April 22, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Earth Day:

“Today, we join the international community to mark Earth Day, which reminds us of our shared responsibility to protect our planet – for now and for the generations to come.

“As Canadians, we are fortunate to have breathtaking forests, majestic mountains, and scenic lakes and coasts right in our backyards. Just as these gifts inspire us, they come with a tremendous responsibility to protect them. From preserving nature to fighting climate change and delivering clean air, Canada will continue to lead the way to a better future for everyone. Continue reading

On this Earth Day 2022, Young Voices Are Last Real Chance for Saving Our Planet

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Was it really just three years ago that a world-wide movement involving unprecedented millions of people to address the climate crisis was on a roll.

That movement, propelled by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teen activist bursting with purpose and determination, inspired tens of thousands of people to march in Montreal, and inspired people other cities across Canada, including Niagara, raising a voice for action.

One the signs from these marches that stayed has stayed with  me, held up by a young lady who, like Greta, appeared to be in her teens, was painted with the following words; “If You Don’t Act Like An Adult, We Will!” Continue reading

You Are Invited to a Niagara-Wide Earth Day Rally in Pelham on Saturday, April 23rd

A Brief One on this from NAL reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted April 21st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

What may be this year’s largest Earth Day Rally in Niagara, Ontario is scheculed to take place in the Town Square of the Fonthill community of Pelham this Saturday, April 23rd from 1 to 3 p.m.

The rally is  being hosted by a citizen’s group called Pelham Advocates for Trees and Habitat or PATH for short, which is dedicated to promoting and preserving urban forses, and educating the public on the value of trees.

PATH has reached out to other citizen groups and individuals across Niagara in the hope of making this Earth Day Rally as large as they come in the region, so please make a promise to yourself to be there if you can. Continue reading

Niagara’s St. Johns Pond Hosts First Community Outreach Day In Three Years With Opening of Trout Fishing Season

An Earth Week Invite to All from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

An Invite from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted April 21st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Children enjoying the annual trout fishing event at NPCA’s St. John’s Conservation Area. Photo courtesy of NPCA

This Saturday, April 23, the pond at St. Johns Conservation Area (in Pelham, Niagara’s Effingham area) will officially open for another trout fishing season, starting at 10 a.m.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy a spring outing in nature with family and friends at the first community fishing day held at St. Johns Conservation Area since the pandemic.

“We are excited to welcome visitors to St. Johns and look forward to engaging them in outdoor education and recreation, and the conservation of the native species that call this area home,” says Alicia Powell, Manager of Conservation Area Services at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). Continue reading

New Canada-U.S. Citizens Network Organized to Advocate for Great Lakes for Next Fifty Years

“The goal of GLEN (the newly organized Great Lakes Ecoregion Network) is to generate momentum to strengthen the protection of water quality (in the Great Lakes).

An Introductory Message from the Great Lakes Ecoregion Network (GLEN)

Posted April 20th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh, drinkable water in the world, if we have the sense to look after them.

The Great Lakes Ecoregion Network (GLEN) is a new initiative to engage members of the basin-wide Great Lakes environmental community on issues related to the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA).

As the 50th anniversary of the signing of the GLWQA is celebrated later this (April), we call on the US and Canadian federal governments to renew and strengthen their commitment to water quality and ecosystem health in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin.

The GLWQA, first signed by President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, on April 15th, 1972, was a groundbreaking step by the two nations to jointly manage a shared resource. It led to strategies to revive Lake Erie and tackle toxic pollution throughout the Basin. Continue reading

COVID-19 Activity Is Increasing In Niagara, Ontario’s The Hospitals

There Are Currently 90 Inpatients At Niagara Health Who Have Tested Positive In Our Care, Including Five In Our ICU.

“Unfortunately, our (hospital) staff and physicians are experiencing an increased number of disrespectful behaviours directed towards them. … Every member of our community has been impacted by the pandemic. People are exhausted and discouraged, and this includes our staff and physicians who continue to provide care for those in need.”

A News Release from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted April 20th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Health’s St. Catharines hopsital site

Niagara, Ontario – Since Thursday, April 14, seven patients from the Niagara region who tested positive for COVID-19 have died. Our teams are currently managing eight outbreaks at our Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland sites and in our Extended Care Unit (ECU) at the Welland Site. In addition, 372 Niagara Health staff and physicians are currently self-isolating.

We would like to reinforce the importance of wearing face masks and following other public health recommendations to protect against this highly contagious virus. We are working closely with regional and provincial partners to coordinate our efforts and provide safe, quality care to our communities. Continue reading

Niagara College Goes the Distance to Help Students Impacted By War in Ukraine

“We all recognize that students from Ukraine and many other countries, including Russia, are victims of this circumstance and it is critical that we illustrate to our students that we stand with them and are here to support them through this terribly tragic and stressful time.”                                                                                       – Gary Torraville, Director of Niagara College’s International Division

A News Release from Niagara College

Posted April 20th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – They have travelled across the world to study at Niagara College, now the College is going an extra mile for them.

NC is assisting international students impacted by the war in Ukraine with a range of supports – both financial and emotional – to help them through this challenging time.

Gary Torraville, Niagara College’s international division director. Photo courtesy of Niagara College

Whether they need financial assistance to help cover expenses, or emotional support as they struggle with anxiety over the safety of their loved ones in a war zone, Niagara College is demonstrating that they may be far away from home, but they are not alone. Continue reading

You’re Invited to an Earth Week Cleanup and Tree Planting at Mountain Locks Park in St. Catharines

Due to Forecasts of Rain, This Event has been Re-Scheduled to Friday, April 22md  from 8 A.M. until Noon

Please Be There!

A Brief Note on this from Doug Draper

Posted April 20h, 2022 on Niagara At Large

As overwhelming as issues like climate change or some of the more serious pollution problems still plaguing the Great Lakes may seem, we must never stop believing that there are things that each and every one of us can do to help heal this one and only planet we all call home.

On the very first Earth Day in April 1970, I held up a sign at a rally I attended with some of my high school classmates that read; “If You Aren’t Part of the Solution, You Are Part of the Pollution.” On this Earth Week, as we approach the 52nd Earth Day this coming Friday, April 22nd, I believe that the message on that sign is just as relevant today as it was then. Continue reading

Women’s Council Invites All of Us  to a Zoom Meeting on Indigenous History in Niagara

An Invite from the Niagara District Council of Women

Posted April 19th. 2022 on Niagara At Large

Featured speaker is Metis educator Michele–Elise Burnett

The Niagara District Council of Women  announces its zoom meeting on Wednesday April 20th : 7 p.m.  –  “Truths about Indigenous History in Niagara –the Challenging Present and the Way forward to Reconciliation”.

As part of a four year National Council of Women of Canada  program  on Missing and Murdered Indigenous  Women and Girls ,  the Niagara District Council of Women is holding a cross-country zoom meeting on Wednesday April 20th   regarding “Truths about Indigenous History in Niagara –the Challenging Present and the Way Forward to Reconciliation”.

The featured speaker is Metis educator Michele–Elise Burnett, co-owner of   the Kakekalanicks Indigenous Consulting company  which has developed  unique  arts and educational programs across Niagara, such as  the yearly ‘Celebration of Nations event, and Landscape of Nations, 360 0 Continue reading

Brock University Opens ‘Seed Library’to Help Build a Diversity of Native Plants in our Communities

Seeds Now On Loan To Community At Brock Library

‘Seed libraries are an effective mechanism for collecting and distributing a variety of rare, endangered, native and/or culturally important seeds. They aim to protect genetic diversity in our food system and promote public access to seeds.’

News from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 19th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Master of Sustainability candidate Alexandra Cotrufo helped to create Brock University’s seed library launching Tuesday, April 19. Photo courtesy of Brock University

Niagara, Ontario – The list of items you can borrow from the Brock University Library is growing.

On Tuesday, April 19, the James A. Gibson Library will open the Brock University Seed Library to the community.

The initiative, which allows people to “borrow” seeds for planting, was the brainchild of Brock Master of Sustainability candidates Alexandra Cotrufo and Madison Lepp.

When the pair learned about WWF-Canada’s Go Wild School Grants, they decided to apply in hopes of bringing their vision for a community seed library to life.

The WWF-Canada Go Wild School Grant program funds projects that are focused on protecting or restoring nature in schools and on campuses. While most recipients receive grant amounts of $1,000, Cotrufo and Lepp were fortunate to receive $2,500 to plan, build and execute their project. Continue reading

Milestone Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Turns 50

Is it Really a Time for Celebration?

“If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and we destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us.”                                       – David Suzuki, Canadian scientist, environmental activist and host of the CBC TV program ‘The Nature of Things’

“It is never too late to go quietly to our lakes, rivers, oceans, even our small streams, and say to the sea gulls, the great blue herons, the bald eagles, and the salmon, that we are sorry.”                         – American novelist and nature writer Brenda Peterson

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a Statement from the Canadian and U.S. governments on the 1972 signing of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Posted April 18th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

A News Commentary by Doug Draper –

The Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh, drinkable water in the world, if we have the sense to look after them.

By the time citizens gathered in cities and towns around the world for the very first Earth Day in April, 1970, the Great Lakes and so many of the rivers and creeks flowing into them were on just about every environmental scientist who was paying attention critical list.

These massive reservoirs of fresh water – home to tens-of-millions of humans and a rich diversity of wildlife – were by then so seriously contaminated with petro-chemical waste from a multitude of sources on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border that fish-eating birds, from gulls to bald eagles, were dying off and at least one river flowing to the lower Great Lakes from Ohio literally caught fire.

Scientist were examining fish from the lakes and the watersheds feeding them that were suffering from exterior tumors the size of those marbles kids played with on the schoolyard.

At the same time, mats of rotting algae were washing up and stanching Great Lakes shores.

Great Lakes fish, washing up the shores in lethal mats of rotting algae

A product of nutrients (mostly phosphorus and nitrogen agents entering the lakes from farmlands treated with chemical fertilizers, and from urban sewers, the algae choked the lakes of the oxygen they needed to sustain fish life.

Lake Erie, the shallowest of the lakes and therefore the most vulnerable to growths of this oxygen-robbing plight, was declared in front-page headlines across North America to be “on the verge of dying.”

Two years after the first Earth Day, on April 16, 1972, then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of the current prime minister) and then U.S. President Richard Nixon set aside the beefs they had with each other on so many other issues and signed a binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement aimed at saving the lakes from those threats and more.

U.S. President Richard Nixon (second from left) and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (right) in April. 1972,, signing the Canada/U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Through two revisions of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, in 1978 and 1987, and through the first 25 or 30 years of its initial signing, a great deal of progress was made by the two federal governments, by the Province of Ontario and the U.S. states bordering the lakes, and by municipalities and other bodies in both countries to bring these vital, life-sustaining water bodies back from the brink. Continue reading

Happy Easter as we Count Down the Hours to Earth Day 2022!

And Please Say a Pray for Victory and Peace for the People of Ukraine

A Brief Message from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher     Doug Draper

Posted April 16th, 2022 on Niagara At Large
It may be as warm outside as we would like it to be for the middle of April, but I hope that doesn’t stop any of us from enjoying a nice Easter with some people and/or pets that we love.
This Easter comes five days before the 52 anniversary of the very first Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970 when we can get together with members of our communities and, through planting trees, cleaning up plastic and other waste from shorelines and roadsides, or other earth friendly acts, show our politicians that we demand more than just words out of them when it comes to the fate of our planet.

Continue reading

Niagara Centre MPP’s Motion to Keep Full Services at Welland Hospital Receives Full Ontario Legislature Approval

“Niagara families are counting on us to provide the resources needed to keep emergency and acute care services running at the Welland Hospital. It’s critical that we keep the hospital services we have, and keep building capacity to serve Niagara families.”  – Jeff Burch, NDP MPP for the Riding of Niagara Centre in Niagara, Ontario

A New Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Posted April 13th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Jeff Burch’s motion to keep the Welland Hospital’s emergency department and acute care services open passed after debate in the legislature on Tuesday evening.

“Families who rely on the Welland hospital deserve timely access to emergency and acute care when they need it,” said Burch.

“Our community is growing and our health care system needs to keep pace. While we’re looking forward to the new Niagara Falls hospital, we can’t afford to lose these critical services that Niagara families rely on.” Continue reading

Bertie Historical Society and Saving Waverly Woods

Join the Bertie Historical Society and Community Voices of Fort Erie for Meetings on the History of Erie Beach and Waverly Woods

An Invite and Update from Marcie Jacklin and Community Voices of Fort Erie

Posted April 13th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Dear friends of Waverly Woods/Erie Beach in Fort Erie, Ontario

Please join us for some in person meetings about the history of Waverly Woods/Erie Beach.

Community Voices of Fort Erie is partnering with the Bertie Historical Society to present Counting Back to Erie Beach (Waverly Woods) on April 13 at the Centennial Library at 6 p.m. and again at the Crystal Ridge Library at 6 p.m.  Continue reading

Big Birds Sighted in High Numbers this Spring Over Niagara Escarpment

‘This year’s (raptor) count was off to a good start in March, with a total count (in the skies above the Niagara Escarpment and  Beamer Memorial Conservation Area in Grimsby, Ontario) of 4,860 birds- the highest total since 2012, spread over 12 species.’

A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted April 12th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

A red-tail hawk, one of the species of raptors, flying in healthy numbers along the Niagara Escarpment this spring

This year’s annual spring migration raptor count began March 1st and goes until May 15, with volunteers from the Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch (NPH) group visiting the site to count sightings daily.

Although access to the viewing platform is limited to NPH volunteers only due to COVID-19, visitors and aspiring counters are welcome to join to learn more about the importance of this annual work.

This year’s count was off to a good start in March, with a total count of 4,860 birds- the highest total since 2012, spread over 12 species. Continue reading

Helping More Canadians Drive Electric Vehicles

“One of the best ways to cut pollution is getting more clean cars on the road. That’s why we’re making it easier and more affordable for Canadian families to make their next vehicle purchase an electric one.”                                                                         – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A News Release from the Office of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Posted April 11th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wants more Canadians driving electric vehicles

Canadians have been clear about what they want: clean air, good jobs, a healthy environment, and a strong economy. That’s why the Government of Canada is making it easier and more affordable for Canadians across the country to drive zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), while helping the auto sector to build them right here in Canada.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today highlighted key measures included in Budget 2022: A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable to help Canadians make the switch to zero-emission vehicles. Continue reading

Niagara SPCA and Humane Society is Niagara’s Latest Certified Living Wage Employer

“We’re pleased to have on-going support from local employers who recognize the value and benefits of paying at least a living wage. Paying a living wage is direct action to address poverty and helps people afford the cost of living.”                                                  – Jennifer Gauthier, Vice Chair, Niagara Poverty Reduction Network.

A News Release from the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

Posted April 11th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Niagara SPCA and Humane Society has become a certified living wage employer at the Champion level.

The Niagara SPCA and Humane Society serves eight municipalities in the Niagara region, as well as Haldimand County and the Mississauga’s of the New Credit. They operate three shelters, one low cost animal clinic, and two mobile animal hospitals that travel throughout the province. Continue reading

We Put Off  the Need to ACT NOW on Climate Change at Our Peril

By Not Acting Now, We also Waste Away the Right to a Good Life for our Children

“The jury has reached a verdict and it is damning.  We are on a fast track to climate disaster. … It is time to stop burning our planet and start investing in the abundant renewable energy all around us.”                                                                                                   – an excerpt from  a message from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

A  Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by the latest climate emergency report released by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Posted April 10th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Of all the pressing problems we now face in this world – from affordable housing and galloping inflation to COVID-18 and the war crimes in the Ukraine – there is one that will continue to ravage life on this planet for generations to come if we don’t take decisive action to solve it now.

That problem is climate change and in yet another detailed report released this April 4th by scientists working under the umbrella of the Unite Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, we have been presented with one of the starkest warnings yet that we are on the road to a global meltdown if we continue to deny, delay or lie our way out of addressing this most perilous or problems.

Canada’s west in these recent years of unprecedented wildfires. Yet too many of our politicial leaders are willing to risk more of this over taking decisive action to deal with the causes of climate change.

As we approach the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day on this coming Friday, April 22nd, one of this aging environment reporter’s worst fears is that other pressing problems like the pandemic and the war Putin ignited in eastern Europe has put all of the attention and energy that the climate crisis finally began to receive before the COVID-19 plague began on the backburner. Continue reading

Canada Pledges Support for Global ‘Stand Up For Ukraine’ Campaign

Stand Up For Ukraine – 9.1 billion euros ($12.4 billion) pledged in support of internally displaced and refugees

“Whether it’s food, water, shelter, or medical aid – we will continue to have your backs and provide the assistance you need at this time. We are standing  up for Ukraine.”                                        – A message to the people of Ukraine from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A News Release from the Office of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

Posted April 10th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The “Stand Up for Ukraine” global pledging event and campaign has raised 9.1 billion euros ($12.4 billion) for people fleeing the Russian invasion, inside Ukraine and abroad, including €1 billion from the European Commission.

On top of that, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced an additional €1 billion in loan to cover the needs of the people displaced by the invasion.

Out of these €10.1 billion in pledges and EBRD funding, €1.8 billion are for internally displaced persons and €8.3 billion for refugees in frontline EU Member States and countries, like Moldova. Continue reading

Budget 2022 Signals “Canada Is Back” As a Full Great Lakes Partner

“Investing in the Great Lakes fishery is good for the “triple bottom line” –  the fishery contributes $8 billion in economic return each year, the fishery is integral to our culture, and a healthy fishery means a healthy environment.”                                                                             – Vance Badawey, Niagara Centre MP and Co-Chair of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Taskforce

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre Liberal MP Vance Badawey

Posted April 8th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre Liberal MP and Co-Chair of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Taskforce, Vance Badawey. file photo

OTTAWA, ON – Vance Badawey Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre and Co-Chair of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Taskforce, was pleased to see our Liberal Government has made a decisive decision to be the first Federal Government in forty years to fully fund the binational treaty organization Great Lakes Fishery Commission in (this April 7th’s) budget.

Canada and the United States co-fund the Commission’s work under a treaty of 1954 called the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries.

The Commission’s program protects and improves the $8 billion Great Lakes fishery and Canada, before today, had been providing less than what the treaty requires. Today’s budget will ensure Canada makes essential investments to sustain the fishery, which we share with the United States. Continue reading

Passionate Birder & Champion in Fight to Save Fort Erie’s Waverly Woods to Receive Time-Honoured Nature Award

Marcie Jacklin is one of the citizen leaders in a David vs. Goliath battle to keep developers from destroying one of Niagara’s  natural jewels

A News Release from the Niagara Falls Nature Club in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 7th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario naturalist, citizen activist and leading member in fight to save Waverly Woods in Fort Erie to receive time-honoured award

Niagara, Ontario – Local Fort Erie resident, Marcie Jacklin, will be receiving the R.W. Sheppard Award on Monday, April 11th, 3:00 pm, at Waverly Beach Park in the Town of Fort Erie.

The award is being presented by representatives from the Niagara Falls Nature Club who originally chose her as the recipient in 2020.  Traditionally the award is presented at the group’s annual dinner in April, but COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of this and other live events.

Now that restrictions are lifted, an outdoor presentation has been planned to allow for safe distancing and masking, if preferred.

Roy W. Sheppard, for whom the award is named, was the first honourary president of the Niagara Falls Nature Club.  He joined the club in 1966 and was an active member until his death in 1985.  He was internationally known as a naturalist and published scientific and nature articles. Continue reading

Niagara’s Major Business Group Applauds Federal Government’s “Growth-Oriented Budget”

“With unemployment projected to remain low, and with supply chains and inflation now the biggest economic challenges, a growth-oriented budget makes sense at this time. Prudent governments have reinvested the rewards of growth in diversification and social programs, and this budget represents a step in that direction.”

A News Release from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 7th. 2022 on Niagara At Large

The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce offers its views on the 2022 federal budget

Niagara, Ontario – The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) notes that the Government of Canada, reacting to a booming economic rebound, has opted to re-invest in housing, green energy, and other forward-thinking projects and programs.

Much of this is wisely targeted at known economic pain points such as housing and supply chains.

Simultaneously, while the era of extraordinary COVID-19 relief is coming to an end, the last five weeks in Ukraine have shown that peace and security cannot be taken for granted. That being the case, heightened defence spending was inevitable, particularly as Canada currently funds its military at a low rate compared to NATO peers. Continue reading

Should More of Our Natural Heritage be Sacrificed for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games?

You Have an Important Role to Play in Stopping the Destruction of 12 Mile Creek Ravines in St. Catharines/Niagara

A Call-Out from Friends of 12 Mile Creek, a Niagara-based citizens group

Posted April 7th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Twelve Mile Creek is a study in contrasts – in some areas, one of the most natural, and in other areas, one of the most altered watersheds in Niagara.

The ravine behind Riverview Blvd. is in an altered area, however, it is a quiet and peaceful place of Creekside trails and woodland slopes.

Sadly, this ravine is being destroyed by a plan advanced and supported by the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games and the Mayor of St. Catharines for the construction of a mountain bike racecourse. Continue reading

Ontario Liberals Call For Mask Extension And Expansion To Schools, Pharmacies And Grocery Stores

“Ford’s Conservatives are still planning to end all mask mandates in long-term care homes and hospitals on April 27th – this is a huge mistake.”                                                                                             – Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca

A Statement by Steven Del Duca, Leader of Ontario Liberal Party

Posted April 7th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca has issued the following statement:

“With COVID case counts now skyrocketing, Ontarians deserve science, not silence from their provincial government. Doug Ford’s Conservatives must stop muzzling the Chief Medical Officer of Health and restore his regular media conferences that ended over a month ago. Continue reading

G7 Nations – Canada and the United States Included – Tighten Screws on Putin

“We underscore that those responsible for war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law, including the indiscriminate use of force or attacks intentionally targeting civilians, must be held accountable and brought to justice.”

A Statement from the Group of Seven (G7), released by Canada’s Office of the Prime Minister

Posted April 7th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

“We, the Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), condemn in the strongest terms the appalling atrocities by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other Ukrainian towns. We continue to stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.


The murder of civilians and non-combatants is categorically prohibited under international humanitarian law.

We support the UN Secretary General’s call for an independent investigation that leads to effective accountability for these atrocities. We underscore that those responsible for war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law, including the indiscriminate use of force or attacks intentionally targeting civilians, must be held accountable and brought to justice. Continue reading

An Urgent Call-Out – Make Sure You Have Your Say in Planning the Way Niagara Grows

Region’s Proposed Official Plan Will Impact Niagara’s Urban and Green Spaces for Decades to Come

A Notice from Niagara’s Regional Government, with a Foreword by Doug Draper

Posted April 5th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

A Foreword by Doug Draper, reporter/publisher, NAL

After years of discussion and debate, and of  drafting and redrafting a new Official Plan for Niagara, the Region’s Council is hoping to give the Plan final approval before this term of the council ends in the fall.

An Official Plan, as Niagara’s Regional Government explains it, “includes land-use policies that cover topics like Niagara’s natural environment, land needs, growth allocations, housing, transportation, urban design, employment lands and agriculture.”

Thjis image, first posted months ago by the region-wide citizens coalition Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara, speaks to the importance of this Official Plan in protecting what is left of Niagara’s natural heritage.

In a nutshell, it sets the framework for how and where our communities grow, both inside and outside urban boundaries for decades to come. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Cutting Gas and Fuel Taxes For Six Months “To Provide Relief For Businesses and Families”

Government to Introduce Legislation to Cut Gas Tax by 5.7 Cents per Litre and Fuel Tax by 5.3 Cents per Litre

“I am proud that I am part of a government, under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford, that continues to lower the cost of living in our region and across the province.”     – Niagara West Ford Government MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Now Ford’s Finance Minister Wants to See Trudeau Government to Cut Carbon Tax it Introduced to Fight Climate Change

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara West Conservative Party MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Posted April 4th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – As part of its plan to keep costs down for Ontario families and businesses, the Ontario government is introducing legislation that would, if passed, cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for six months beginning July 1, 2022.

Vehicle owners in Ontario would see significant direct savings from this proposed gas tax cut and the recently announced elimination of licence plate renewal fees, with households benefitting from an average combined savings of about $465 in 2022.

Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy

“Ongoing supply chain challenges and geopolitical conflicts are pushing up the cost of living from gas to groceries,” said Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance.

“With these added pressures, families and businesses need extra help to keep costs low.  That is why our government is bringing forward legislation to provide tax relief at the pumps and put money back into people’s pockets.”

Niagara West Ford government MPP Sam Oosterhoff

“A key concern for many residents in Niagara West is affordability and cost of living,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“I am proud that I am part of a government, under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford, that continues to lower the cost of living in our region and across the province by putting money back in the pockets of working families.”

Effective July 1 until December 31, 2022, the gas tax rate would be cut from 14.7 cents per litre to 9 cents per litre, representing a cut of 5.7 cents per litre.  The fuel tax rate, which includes diesel, would be reduced from 14.3 cents per litre to 9 cents per litre, representing a cut of 5.3 cents per litre.

The Ontario government is also continuing to call on the federal government to help families and businesses in the face of rising costs by cutting the carbon tax, which increased to 11.05 cents per litre on gasoline and 13.41 cents per litre on diesel on April 1, 2022.

“Ontario is getting stronger, and with this proposed legislation, our government is doing its part to support workers and families,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy.

“Now is the time for the federal government to join us in providing relief for hard-working Canadians by cutting the carbon tax.”

Ontario’s plan to cut gas and fuel taxes is part of a broader package that will provide immediate cost-of-living relief, including:

  *   Cutting costs for millions of Ontario vehicle owners by refunding licence plate sticker renewal fees paid since March 2020, and eliminating licence plate renewal fees and plate stickers on a go-forward basis, saving vehicle owners $120 a year in southern Ontario and $60 a year in Northern Ontario for passenger and light commercial vehicles.

*   Permanently removing tolls on Highways 412 and 418, effective April 5.

  *   Providing tax relief for workers, families and seniors through the Low-Income Workers Tax Credit, the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit, the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit and the Ontario Child Care Tax Credit.

  *   Reaching an agreement with the federal government for $13.2 billion of funding for a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System, providing Ontario families with children five years old and younger in participating licensed child care centres with up to 25 per cent in savings, to a minimum of $12 per day, retroactive to April 1, 2022. This agreement will deliver an average of $10-a-day child care for eligible children by September 2025.

Quick Facts

  *   Vehicle owners in Ontario would see a significant direct savings from this proposed gas tax cut and the recently announced elimination of licence plate renewal fees. For example, a family in Southern Ontario who owns two cars and drives regularly would save about $815 in 2022.  Households that do not own vehicles are expected to benefit from the impact of the proposed gas tax cut in the prices paid for taxis, food delivery and consumer products.

  *   The price paid at the pump is made up of the cost of crude oil, wholesale margins, retail margins, federal excise tax, the federal carbon tax, Ontario gasoline/fuel tax and HST.

  *   This proposed tax cut would be effective July 1, 2022 to provide the industry – including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers – the required time to adjust their systems and business processes.

  *   In 2018, the government passed legislation to eliminate the previous government’s cap and trade carbon tax to reduce gas prices by 4.3 cents per litre.  When combined with the savings from the government’s proposed legislation, the reduction in provincial taxes and charges on gas would total 10 cents per litre.

  *   Ontario’s Gas Tax program supports public transit in municipalities across Ontario by providing two cents per litre of provincial gas tax to improve and expand transit. The Ontario government will ensure that this funding would not be impacted by this proposed cut.

Additional Resources

  *   Working with Industry to Provide Tax Relief to Ontario Workers and Ontario Families<>

  *   Gasoline Tax<>

  *   Fuel Tax<>

See a related story posted by CBC by clicking on –

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Action Needed Now on Affordable Housing Crisis – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

“If we are to properly represent our constituents, I’m urging this House to take real substantive and timely action to address the soaring cost of living and shortage of affordable places to live.”        – Niagara Centre MPP Jeff  Burch

From the Constituency Office of Jeff Burch, NDP MPP for the Niagara Centre Riding in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 4th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

(A Note from Niagara At Large – The following statement by Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch was made in the Ontario legislature this past March 30th and is very much in line from what NAL hears many people – especially younger people – in our Niagara region and elsewhere in the province saying. That is why NAL is posting it.)

A Statement by Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch –

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

“In my riding of Niagara Centre, there is a severe lack of affordable housing, wages are stagnant, but the price of gas, groceries, and housing continues to rise.

A modest one bedroom in Welland is going for $1400 a month. A basement one-bedroom apartment in Port Colborne is $1300. According to Niagara’s Workforce Planning Board in March 2020,Niagara’s average home price was $450,000. In March 2021, this price increased by 37.2% to over $620,000.This annual increase in local housing costs outpaces wage increases of the average worker by five times. Continue reading

Niagara Region’s Council Loses Strong Voice for our Green Heritage

A  News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted April 3rd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

What a downer!

Now former St. Catharines Regional Councillor George Darte

George Darte was there – not all that long ago – speaking out for the preservation of Niagara’s green spaces.

Then, suddenly y, he was gone.

The St. first-term St. Catharines Regional Councillor, who had already earned a reputation as a solid voice for protecting and preserving what is left of Niagara’s farmlands, woodlands and wetlands, informed fellow councillors via email this past March 30th that he was vacating his council seat for “private” reasons and effective immediately.

Callouts by Niagara At Large to obtain even a clue about what led to Darte’s decision came up dry.

So all that those of us who care about protecting what remains of Niagara’s natural heritage are left with is that we have lost a good ally on the Region’s council. Continue reading

Niagara Health Issues Important Update about Another Rise in COVID-19 Cases

Cases of COVID-19 are rising again in Ontario, including at Niagara Health, driven by the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.

A Message from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted April 1st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – We anticipated this increase in cases in the hospital as public health measures lifted and people started spending more time together.

We are well prepared to manage hospital activity and want to recognize the extraordinary commitment of our staff and physicians to provide patients and families with safe, quality care.  Continue reading

Trudeau Comments on Pope’s Historic Apology to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples

“Today’s apology is a step forward in acknowledging the truth of our past. We cannot separate the legacy of the residential school system from the institutions that created, maintained, and operated it, including the Government of Canada and the Catholic Church.”                                                                                        – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Statement by Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Posted April 1st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this April 1st, 2022) issued the following statement on the apology from His Holiness Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system in Canada:

“I acknowledge His Holiness Pope Francis’ apology to Indigenous Peoples for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in operating the residential school system in Canada. Today is about the Survivors, their families, and those who never came home. Continue reading