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Complaints Mounting in Niagara about Individuals Posing as NPCA Staff

Police Investigation now Underway to Catch Alleged Imposters

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

Posted July 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The Comfort Maple in Pelham/Niagara, estimated to be about 500 years old, making it one of the oldest maple trees in all of Canada, is one of the most valuable features of our region’s natural heritage that the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority cares for.

As if the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) has had enough problems over the past number of years under the direction of managers and board members  who, following last year’s municipal elections, are gone, now the agency has this bizarre and unwelcome situation to deal with – just as it has been doing a pretty good job of getting itself back on as a leading steward for our Niagara area watershed.

Why would anyone want to go around the region and even making phone calls and sending out email, as has been reported, posing as NPCA staff while they are doing it? Just this reporter’s speculation, but it seems like it would almost have to be people who know at least a little bit about the NPCA and the work it is doing. Continue reading

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Ontario Launches Consultation on Building More Homes that People Need and Can Afford

Province Seeks Feedback on Proposed Changes to Provincial Policy Statement

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, then still a candidate for the provincial Tory Party’s top job, is caught on video tape early last year, telling developers he would open on “big chunks” of the province’s protected Greenbelt to build affordable housing

(The following News Release is being posted with a Footnote from Niagara At Large, raising concerns about possible plans by the Ford government to use a need for more affordable housing in Ontario as an excuse to pave over more agricultural land and “big chunks,” as Ford has described them, of the province’s protected Greenbelt lands.)

A News Release from the Ford Government and Ontario’s Ministry of Municpal Affairs and Housing

Posted July 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clarks says government is cutting “red tape” and changing planning rules to “speed up”housing construction

NIAGARA — The Ontario Government is cutting red tape that is slowing down the process of building more homes that people need and can afford.

As part of the More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, the government is consulting oproposed changes to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) — which sets out direction for land use planning in the province.

“Seniors are looking to down-size and young families don’t see a path to home ownership. That’s why we are proposing changes to provincial policies that would spur and speed up the construction of more and different types of housing that can meet the needs of people in different stages of life,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“I encourage Ontarians to provide their feedback directly to my ministry during this 90-day consultation period.” Continue reading

Garden Walk Buffalo is Back & Celebrating 25 Years

You are Invited to North America’s Largest and Most Popular Urban Gardens Tour, Free and Self-Guided, Running                                                      for Two Beautiful Days                                                – Saturday, July 27th & Sunday, July 28th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

From the Organizers of Garden Walk Buffalo

Posted July 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

A getaway in a corner of a lush backyard near Buffalo’s Elmwood Village area and Delaware Park. File photo by Doug Draper

Join us for our 25th anniversary! Tour is free and self-guided. No tickets required. Nearly 400 creative urban gardens. NEW in 2019–the Parkside neighborhood is part of Garden Walk Buffalo!

Garden Walk Buffalo celebrates its 25th anniversary as a garden tour this year! It is America’s largest garden tour, attracting garden lovers throughout Western New York, Southern Ontario and beyond.

Held annually on the last weekend of July, Garden Walk has become one of the most anticipated summer events locally — and even nationally. An estimated 65,000 visitors flock to Buffalo to tour more than 400 residential gardens as well as many community and public gardens. Continue reading

In this Time of Climate Crisis, We Desperately Need the Kind of Bold Leadership that Took Us to the Moon and Back

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted July 20th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

First steps on the moon, July 20th, 1969.

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”                                                          – from an address delivered by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in September of 1962

Kennedy spoke those bold words less than one year after his country sent the first American into space for a mere 15 minutes, and 59 years after the Wright Brothers were the first to successfully make a rickety contraption that passed for an airplane fly without crashing.

And 50 years ago this Saturday, July 20th – a mere six years and 10 months after Kennedy spoke those words about humans walking on the surface of moon before the end of the decade – it actually happened, as more than 500 million people around the world, watched it in awe on our televisions some 230,000 miles (360,000 kilometres) away.

In the world we live in now, where it seems to take forever to upgrade an interchange on the QEW or 406 Highway, or fix a leaky tunnel under the Welland Canal, it is amazing to realize what an accomplish it was to go from the first humans in tiny capsules to barely kiss he heavens in the early 1960s to collecting moon rocks and bringing them back home safely in 1969. Continue reading

Niagara’s Seat Count on NPCA’s Board of Directors Jumps from 12 to 15

Total Board Count Swells to 21 when Haldimand and Hamilton Reps are taken into account, with not one young person or millennial represented

Niagara Region’s Council has chosen West Lincoln’s Dave Bylsma, Lincoln’s Robert Foster and Port Colborne’s Bill Steele to sit on Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority  for remainder of this four year term

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

Posted July 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large (This is a corrected and updated version of this news commentary. Please delete any earlier version you may have.)

As of this July 18th, the number of representatives Niagara will have sitting on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors jumps from 12 to 15.

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors at a meeting earlier this year. They are now going to need a bigger table . File photo by Doug Draper

It makes for a total board membership 21 on a Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) that is just beginning to get back on a positive track after six or seven years of bad when the two representatives from Haldimand County and four from Hamilton are taken into account. Continue reading

Excessive Heat Alert to go into Effect in Niagara this Friday, July 19th 

Scorching Temperatures Expected to Last Through Saturday and into Sunday Morning

A Message from Niagara Region’s Public Health and Emergency Services 

Posted July 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

An Excessive Heat Alert will be issued tomorrow, July 19, 2019 by Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services, as temperatures are expected to reach 31 Celsius with the humidex approaching 40 Celsius.

The alert will continue until Sunday morning when temperatures are expected to return to normal. Niagara residents are advised to take extra precautions during episodes of extreme heat and humidity. Continue reading

NPCA Board Moves to Support Designations for Protecting Provincially Significant Wetlands in Thundering Waters Forest

Signs like this, held by citizens protesting development plans at Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, became common over the past three years.

-Rich Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario is Target of $1.5-Billion Urban Development Proposal

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

Posted July 18th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

What a difference a new board of directors at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority can make.

Three years after a former Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) board was so agreeable to a developer using something called “biodiversity offsetting” to potentially build over provincially significant wetlands (PSWs) in Niagara Falls’ Thundering Waters Forest, the Conservation Authority’s current board is taking quite a different tact.

A look at wetlands inside Thundering Waters Forest.in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Not only is there no mention of biodiversity offsetting in any discussion of these wetlands, the NPCA’s current board has decided to express its support for the PSW designations the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) now has on them. Continue reading