Author Archives: dougdraper

International Joint Commission  Investigates Potential Impacts Of Crude Oil Transport In Great Lakes

Niagara River is one of 15 ecosystems in the Great Lakes listed as particularly vulnerable to impacts of a crude oil spill.

“Existing crude oil transport infrastructure near or in the Great Lakes makes the ecosystem particularly vulnerable to spills, particularly in 15 areas the committee identified (including the Niagara River, Long  Point Bay along the shores of Lake Erie and the northern shores of Lakes Ontario) based on their level of biodiversity and as highly valued habitats for fish spawning, such as estuaries, rivers and bays.”

– from the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Science Advisory Board report, titled ‘Potential Ecological Impacts of Crude Oil Transport in the Great Lakes Basin

News from the Canada/U.S. International Joint Commission’s Science Advisory Board

Posted December 12th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Oil production in central northern United States and western Canada has increased rapidly since 2010. Its transport near or through the Great Lakes region via pipelines and rail has expanded as a result.

What does this mean for the lakes in terms of the environmental threats posed by crude oil transport, and what are the potential ecological impacts from a spill in freshwater ecosystems like the Great Lakes? Continue reading


Join the Fight for Fairness for Injured Workers in Ontario

You Are Invited to Join a Rally for Workers’ Comp in Downtown St. Catharines this Tuesday, December 11th at Noon

A Call-Out from the Niagara Injured Worker Group

‎Posted December 10th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

The Niagara Injured Worker Group is looking forward to rallying together with our allies to send the message that Workers’ Comp is a Right.

We are joined by eight  other communities in Ontario to make our voices and our demands heard. Join us! Continue reading

Niagara MPP Urges New NPCA Board to Drop Lawsuit Against Former Employee For Speaking Out About Alleged Cases of Workplace Harassment at Conservation Authority

“We can only hope that with a clean slate of board members and a new Interim CAO the days of the NPCA trying to muzzle opposition by suing individuals who dare question its operation, management, hiring and firing practices is finally over.”               – Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

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

Posted December 7th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Former NPCA employee Jocelyn Baker still has a costly lawsuit hanging over her head after speaking out about alleged cases of workplace harassment inside the NPCA

With a new interim board of directors and CAO in place at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, one of Niagara’s Members of Provincial Parliament is calling on them to drop an ongoing lawsuit that the NPCA’s old board and managers  slapped against former employee Jocelyn Baker.

“I commend Niagara Regional Council for taking immediate action in replacing the former NPCA Board, which spearheaded the lawsuit against Ms. Baker,” Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch said in an open letter this December 7th of the Region’s new council voting before adjourning its December 6th inaugural ceremonies to immediately install an interim replacement board at an NPCA where the old board was threatening not to step down.

“We can only hope that with a clean slate of board members and a new Interim CAO the days of the NPCA trying to muzzle opposition by suing individuals who dare question its operation, management, hiring and firing practices is finally over,” added Burch in the letter, a copy of which was sent to all 12 Niagara regional councillors and mayors now sitting on the board, and to Niagara’s new Regional Chair Jim Bradley. Continue reading

MPP’s  Niagara Mental Health Funding Motion Passes in Ontario Legislature

“We worked with community members to show the need for this, and I’m proud to see that the legislature agrees.” – Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

News from the Constituency Office of Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

Posted December 7th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates in Ontario legislature. File photo

Queen’s Park, Ontario  – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates’s motion has won support of all of the parties in the Ontario legislature, moving Niagara closer to round-the-clock mental health services.

 “This is just another example of how, when we come together as a community, when we work together and when we raise our voices, we can get things done. We worked with community members to show the need for this, and I’m proud to see that the legislature agrees. Now, we’ll move forward to get a timeline on that funding and to get these facilities up and running.

This is an important piece, though just one part, of what we can do as a community to say to those struggling, ‘You’re not alone, you’re loved and we care,’” said Gates. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Council appoints new Regional Chair

Niagara Region’s new Chair, Jim Bradley

“I am honoured to be appointed as Niagara’s Regional Chair for the upcoming term of Council. I look forward to working collaboratively with all members of our Council and Niagara’s dedicated public service to move our Region forward and provide the important services our community relies on. ”                            ~ Niagara’s new Regional Chair,  Jim Bradley

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted December 7th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – This December 6th, Niagara Region announces that Jim Bradley has been appointed to the position of Regional Chair by a unanimous vote of Regional Council for the 2018-2022 term. Bradley will be officially sworn in later today, making him the eighth Regional Chair for the Niagara Region.

Niagara’s new Regional Chair Jim Bradley, centre below the Region’s crest, takes the oath of office this December 6th. Photo by Doug Draper

Bradley began his political career as a St. Catharines City Councillor from 1970-77. He served as the Member of Provincial Parliament for St. Catharines from 1977-2018. During this time, Bradley held roles as Provincial Minister of Environment, Transportation, Municipal Affairs and Housing, Tourism and Recreation, Community Safety and Correctional Services, and Seniors.

Bradley has contributed to the Niagara community as a hockey and baseball coach, manager and referee; as member of Grantham Optimist Club, as an active supporter of the Rankin Run, Gillian’s Place, Start Me Up Niagara, Community Care, Bethlehem Place and other volunteer organizations.

In Ontario, the Municipal Act sets out the responsibilities of the Regional Chair. The Regional Chair is both the head of council and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Region.

To watch the Inaugural Meeting of Niagara’s new Regional Council, click on the screen below

To learn more, please visit

Niagara At Large will be posting more news and commentary on the dawn of a new era for regional government in Niagara on our online site soon. Stay tuned.

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


New Niagara Region Council’s Appointment of an Interim NPCA Board Seals Rogue Board’s Fate

Jig is Up for Annunziata and other Niagara ex-councillors and mayors on outgoing NPCA Board

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

Posted December 6th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

If Sandy Annunziata or any others on a Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) board of directors that has gone rogue think they are going to be the ones sitting around the table when the board is scheduled to hold its next meeting this December 12th, they had better think again.

Shortly after Niagara’s new regional council, seen here, took the oath of office this December 6th, it voted to immediately appoint an interim NPCA board to replace an old one that has drawn a great deal of public controversy in recent years, and has continued to right up to this week.

Niagara Region’s new council, in its first official act business this December 6th following its inauguration and selection of former St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley as Regional Chair, named a member of regional councillors from each of Niagara’s 12 local municipalities to form an interim NPCA board – “effective immediately,” says a motion the new council passed, “for a period of three months until it is determined how to proceed with the board composition.” Continue reading

Mark Brickell Is Out As Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s CAO

NPCA Appoints Lisa McManus As Interim CAO

This News just in from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority with a Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted December 7th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Doug Draper’s Foreword –

Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mark Brickell has been replaced by interim CAO. Members of the public are already demanding more details about this.

There has been speculation from NPCA watchers all week that the shotgun meeting that the NPCA’s outgoing board chair and defeated Fort Erie regional councillor Sandy Annunziata and other lame duck members of the board held at a  Niagara-on-the-Lake hotel this past December 3rd a may have had something to do with letting at least one senior manager at the problem-plagued Conservation Authority go.

And now we know, based on the NPCA news release below, that the speculation was fairly spot on.

We are now learning that Mark Brickell,  hired to the NPCA’s CAO post after Carmen D’Angelo left it two years ago for the CAO position at Niagara Region, has been replaced with an interim CAO, Lisa McManus, who has previously served in other administrative positions at the Conservation Authority.

As word of this news is getting around, some Niagara residents who have volunteered many years of their lives to conserving our region’s natural heritage are already circulating notes of their own, wondering what all this may cost Niagara residents and that portion of their tax dollars that go to the NPCA for  conservation projects. Continue reading