Tag: government agency

    Skywalker petitions to cross Niagara Falls

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    From the Globe and Mail:

    Nik Wallenda walked his first tightrope when he was 2.

    He’s bicycled 45 metres across a wire suspended 20 storeys high.

    He even proposed to his wife on a high wire.

    But the famed funambulist’s most hair-raising feat yet may be a political one: persuading g the embattled government agency overseeing Canada’s top tourist attraction to relax a century-old ban on stunts and green-light his life-long dream of walking across Niagara Falls.

    Boat tour evaluations being done in secret


    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Niagara Parks Commission is giving ‘top secret’ status to the proposals submitted for one of the most important business deals the agency will make. Bids to run boat tours on the Niagara River are under lock and key and being evaluated at a secret location by a team whose identities aren’t being released, said chairwoman Fay Booker.

    “They are moving along as anticipated. They are on schedule. They have not encountered any specific problems,” Booker told The Niagara Falls Review.

    Picking a company to run boat tours on the Niagara River — a move that could lead to a replacement for the famous Maid of the Mist — has been one of the most scrutinized decisions the government agency has ever faced.

    New manager by June, predicts NPC chairwoman

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    It could be summer before the Niagara Parks Commission gets a new manager at the helm as the government agency begins the process to fill the shoes of its retired boss John Kernahan.

    “I’m going to suggest the search process is going to take three or four months,” chairwoman Fay Booker said in an interview. “It can be into June before we have our person on site. That would be a guess of mine.”

    Chan rallies NPC staff

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The public has “high expectations” of the Niagara Parks Commission and its employees want to live up to them, Ontario Minister Tourism Michael Chan said in a visit to Niagara Falls Friday intended to rally the employees of the beleaguered government agency.

    “They want to do their job. They want to do it right. They want to do it good,” Chan said in an interview after a reception with more than 200 employees of the government agency responsible for the public land along the Niagara River.

    The Liberal cabinet minister said it’s his “style” to meet the people who work for the agency that fall under his watch.

    He hinted Friday at the “many challenges” the agency has faced.

    4 Niagara Parks Commission members turfed

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Niagara Parks Commission, which has recently been plagued by scandal and controversy, is in for quite the shake-up.

    Late Monday night, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism announced it was removing four commissioners from the Niagara Parks board.

    An interim board, composed of chairwoman Fay Booker, vice chairwoman Janice Thomson, four municipal appointees and six senior Ontario public servants will operate until a new permanent board is appointed.

    Booker and Thomson will continue to provide leadership and guidance “as we work with the interim board to strengthen the integrity of the commission,” Tourism Minister Michael Chan said in a statement released late Monday.

    “Our government is taking action to move the Niagara Parks Commission forward and to restore public confidence in this important government agency. We recognize the concerns that have been raised and are taking decisive steps to set the Niagara Parks Commission in a new direction with stronger governance and greater accountability,” Chan said.

    Tour boats contract bid process under fire

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    From the Globe and Mail:

    The Niagara Parks Commission is fending off claims it is tilting a tendering process in favour of the Maid of the Mist, the tour boat company whose exclusive access to Niagara Falls has been controversial for the Ontario government agency.

    Last year, after a four-decade monopoly for the Maid’s American owners, the province ordered the parks commission to tender the boat lease, worth more than $5-million a year to the $80-million agency. The order followed complaints in 2008 that would-be competitors had been turned away despite having promised richer returns to the commission, which for four straight years has lost money after more than a century of steady profitability.

    A fairness commissioner and outside experts were appointed to prevent bias in the tender, but certain clauses in the bid document – drafted by the same parks officials who supported the Maid monopoly in the past – are raising questions about its fairness, and about Ontario’s efforts to improve its stewardship of Niagara Falls, a jewel of Canadian tourism and beacon to travellers around the world.

    Learning the ropes

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Fay Booker is not on a first-name basis yet with some members of the Niagara Parks Commission, but the new chairwoman is getting up to speed on the commission’s business, including its finances that show a slight improvement over last year, but $1.6 million less than three years ago.

    “There are a lot of weighty issues before the Niagara Parks Commission as we speak,” Booker said Friday as she presided over her first meeting of the government agency responsible for the public land and attractions along the Niagara River.

    No shakeup at the Parks

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    There are no plans to shake up the Niagara Parks Commission, Tourism Minister Monique Smith says.

    In an interview Tuesday, she brushed off a Conservative critic’s claim that replacing the whole board is the only way to restore public confidence in the government agency.

    “We have no intention of replacing the board,” Smith said about how the Liberal government is responding to 11 pages of recommendations in a report she requested looking into how the parks commission is run.

    The Niagara Parks Commission Governance Review called for “fundamental changes” in who is appointed to the parks commission and the process for appointing them.

    Smith, however, was not specific about how the Liberal government will handle that recommendation or when.

    “We’ll be working with the commission to determine the implementation,” she said.

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