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Brock University Partnering With Niagara Municipalities To Find Climate Solutions

Official  Launch will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27 at the Film House at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario

News from Brock University

Posted November 15th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

You can’t point at any one climate-related episode and say with certainty that it was caused by climate change. On the other hand, here we were again this past spring, seeing near record-high waters in Lake Ontario for the second time in just three years, and walls of sandbags, like these in Port Dalhousie, St. Catharines, put there to protest shore area property from water damage. File photo by Doug Draper

Niagara, Ontario – A new alliance between seven Niagara region municipalities and Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) is being created to aggressively seek innovative strategies that address how climate change is impacting the region.

The impacts that inflict a growing toll on communities are typically tied to increasingly volatile weather, such as rising average temperatures; summer droughts followed by heavy rains; and the increasing frequency and intensity of frost-free days and freeze-thaw cycles.

The partnership, aptly named Niagara Adapts, will leverage resources and expertise from ESRC and the Town of Grimsby, Town of Lincoln, City of Niagara Falls, Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Town of Pelham, City of St. Catharines and City of Welland. The goal of the partnership is to support collaborative climate change adaptation assessment, planning and implementation. Continue reading

A Message to Niagara’s Regional Council – Use the Ontario Ombudsman’s Findings as an Opportunity to Restore some Public Trust in Regional Government

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted November 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube’s long anticipated report on all of the controversy surrounding the hiring of former Niagara Region CAO Carmen D’Angelo is now being reviewed by Niagara’s regional council, and may be only days away from being made public.

As I write this, Ontario’s Ombudsman Paul Dube has reportedly been in a closed meeting with Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley, Niagara’s 12 mayors and other members of the Region’s council where they were getting their first look at a report that Dube and his investigators prepared on conduct that, over the past three or four years, did a good deal to  shatter whatever  trust many area resident may have had  left in regional government.

The investigation and report – more than a year in the making – was largely sparked by information,  uncovered and reported in the local media, that the hiring three years ago of former Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority CAO Carmen D’Angelo to the position of CAO at the Region was carried out in ways that were highly questionable, to say the least.

Now former Niagara regional chair Al Caslin and the Region’s former CAO Carmen D’Angelo, overseeing a regional council meeting  two years ago. A File photo by Doug Draper

Allegations of wrongful conduct continued to surface over the past two or three years. More than a few of those allegations focused on members of former Niagara regional chair Al Caslin’s  staff, and on Caslin himself, including reports of him single-handedly or almost single-handedly brokering a three-year extension of D’Angelo’s CAO contract, without first  meeting with members of council to seek their approval. Continue reading

Centennial Construction and Contracting is Niagara’s Latest Certified Living Wage Employer

Glen Walker of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network“We are very pleased to see so many local employers who recognize the value and benefits of paying atgro least a living wage. Paying a living wage takes direct action to tackle poverty and we are excited to see the wing number of Niagara businesses joining us in this work.”                         – Glen Walker, Chair of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network.

A News Release from the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

Posted November 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Centennial Construction and Contracting (Niagara) Inc. has become a certified living wage employer at the Champion level. 

Centennial Construction is now a second generation family run business that was established in 1992. Originally just homebuilders, they eventually expanded into foundations, site servicing, concrete, and more.

Throughout the past five years, they have been putting in a lot of heart and effort towards new home builds across the Niagara Region with a modern style and design that differentiates them from others. Centennial Construction currently employs just over 60 employees in their construction, concrete and farm divisions. Continue reading

Impacts of the Extreme 2019 Great Lakes High Water Levels Felt Throughout Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River

“Significant damages and other impacts were experienced across the (Lake Ontario) system. Shoreline communities are seeking reliable ways to reduce property damages, protect critical infrastructure and maintain essential services.”

A wal of sandbags surround the base of the historic lighthouse at Port Dalhousie Harbour in St. Catharines, Ontario this spring of 2019 to protect it from near record high waters in Lake Ontario. File photo by Doug Draper

By Anthony M. “Tony” David

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, Canada/U.S. International Joint Commission

Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Lakeside Park beach in St. Catharines is swamped with rising waters from Lake Ontario this spring of 2019. This was the second time in a span of three years that the beach area was not available to visitors until well into late June and July. File photo by Doug Draper

(A Brief Foreword Note from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

This report, originally circulated by the International Joint Commission via the internet this October 2019, is one of many like it that Niagara At Large will make more of a practice of posting in this age of more frequent and severe climate-related episodes impacting on our lives and communities.

We will post reports like this and we will continue to join as many of you as possible in urging politicians at all levels of government to take the actions necessary to address what experts around the world now agree is a climate emergency and an existential danger to people, property and the communities we live in.)

When water supplies exceed capacity in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system, water levels rise. When this happens, regulation is looked to as the solution.

But during periods of extreme water supply, the ability of regulated outflows to influence Lake Ontario levels is greatly diminished. In practical terms, no regulation plan can eliminate high water events on Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River.   Continue reading

Environmental Racism Experts to speak at Brock University

On Friday, November on Friday, November 15th from 2 to 4 p.m. on the Brock campus’s Charles A. Sankey Chamber in St. Catharines, Ontario

An Invite to All form Brock University
Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Where is federal and provincial government action on cleaning up mercury pollution left over from old industrial operations in the English River watershed at the Grassy Narrows First Nation community in northern Ontario?

St. Catharines, Ontario – This Friday, November. 15th, Charlotte Henay, Lecturer at Brock’s Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, will be joined by two external experts in a panel presentation titled “Climate Justice, Gender, and Environmental Racism.”

Margot Francis, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and co-organizer of the event, explains that the panel will highlight the ways in which “minoritized communities suffer disproportionate harm from environmental toxification.”

“The impact of environmental devastation is not currently and has never been felt equally by everyone,” says Francis. “Communities in the global south who have been least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions are being harder hit, and in Canada, Indigenous and black communities have always been more vulnerable to environmental racism.” Continue reading

Transforming Transportation in Neighbouring Western New York – A Roundtable Discussion

The Sierra Club Writers Group of Western New York Encourages You to Participate, on Monday, November 18th, 2019 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the University of Buffalo South Campus Hayes Hall in Buffalo, New York

A Call-Out from the Sierra Club and the Citizens Regional Transit Corporation in the Buffalo/Western New York area

Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

We are reaching out to invite you to a local roundtable discussion regarding Sierra Club’s Transforming Transportation ( report on November 18th from 10:30am – 12:30pm at UB Hayes Hall 402. 

This year, New York passed the nation’s most ambitious climate legislation which will phase out fossil fuels in our economy by 2050. Over 1/3rd of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Continue reading

If A Tree Falls In The Forest, Does Anybody Hear?

And How Many More Trees Are Going to Have to Fall in Forests in Niagara Before We Get a Stronger                    Tree Protection Bylaw in this Region?

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper 

Posted November 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

‘Cut and move on
Cut and move on
Take out trees
Take out wildlife at a rate of species every single day.’

  • Lyric’s from Bruce Cockburn’s song ‘When a Tree Falls in the Forest’

Canadian-born singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn performed a sold-out concert at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines this October and one of the songs he sang was If A Tree Falls in the Forest.

As Cockburn performed the song, members of the audience joined him in singing the chorus; “If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear?”

Last year, a number of trees were sawed down or bulldozed out of the way in forests in Niagara Falls and Fort Erie, and on the property of a historic old estate in Niagara-on-the-Lake , and many people heard.

A tree taken down in Waverly Woods in Fort Erie last year, much to the chagrin of residents in the community, fighting to keep the woods free of urban development.

They not only heard and witnessed the destruction themselves, they made angry calls to the powers that be in government, only to be told, for the most part,  that the regional government’s current tree protection bylaw is not strong enough to do anything of any real substance about it. Continue reading