Tag: jim williams

    New chairwoman at parks

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Fay Booker, a Burlington business consultant who specializes in how corporations govern themselves, is expected to become the next chairwoman of the Niagara Parks Commission at a time the provincial agency is under scrutiny for the way it operates.

    Tour ism Minister Michael Chan’s office announced in a 5 p.m., news release the Ontario Liberal government nominated Booker to lead the $80-million-a-year agency responsible for preserving the area around the Horseshoe Falls and running its attractions. Chan was not available to comment, his office staff said.

    Booker, a chartered accountant, will fill the vacancy created by the abrupt December resignation of Jim Williams, who quit over a dispute with then-minister of tourism Monique Smith about how to handle an ongoing controversy surrounding its lease with the Maid of the Mist boat tour company.

    Parks open for business

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    When Archie Katzman banged a gavel on the wooden table promptly at 10 a.m., it signalled to about 40 spectators the start of a new era for the Niagara Parks Commission.

    The open era.

    For the first time in its 124- year history, members of the public were allowed to watch commissioners in action. It was standing room only in a committee room at Oak Hall, prompting Katzman, the acting chairman who has been on the commission since 1971, to comment on how many people were interested enough to attend the first meeting.

    “We did not expect to see this many people,” said Katzman, who has filled in as chairman since Jim Williams resigned in December.

    Commissioners are “encouraged” by the interest in the goings-on at the commission, which is responsible for preserving, promoting and enhancing the area around Horseshoe Falls and the land along the Niagara River, he added.

    To accommodate the crowd, the meeting was moved from the boardroom at the Portage Road office to a larger committee room. Staff put out wooden folding chairs -the kind that are comfortable for about an hour – as a visitors gallery.

    Williams goes out fighting

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The way Ontario Tourism Minister Monique Smith wants to tender the right to run boat tours on the Niagara River will harm the Niagara Parks Commission, Niagara Falls’ tourism industry and tourism provincewide, says former Niagara Parks Commission chairman Jim Williams.

    He’s not going quietly after resigning his $250-a-day government- appointed job Thursday over a dispute with Smith, the cabinet minister responsible for the parks commission.

    “If she’s willing to jeopardize the parks in this cavalier a fashion, I don’t want any part of the organization. This is a bad decision by the government and this minister,” Williams told The Review Friday.

    PARKS CHAIRMAN RESIGNS

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Jim Williams stepped down as Niagara Parks Commission chairman Thursday over a dispute with Tourism Minister Monique Smith’s support for him, and over his “grave concerns” about an historic bidding process she ordered that could see the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co., replaced as operator of boat tours on the Niagara River.

    “Given … your unwillingness to defend this commission against the false accusations levied against us, I can only conclude that I no longer have your confidence in this matter,” Williams wrote in a four-page resignation letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Niagara Falls Review.

    STYX, Glass Tiger to perform New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Legendary rockers STYX and the Canadian group Glass Tiger will take to the stage on New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls.

    The Niagara Parks Commission released its lineup for the popular, televised concert Tuesday afternoon.

    “Niagara will be the place to be on New Year’s Eve,” said Niagara Parks Commission Chairman Jim Williams. “It really is exciting to see the city come alive on this special night.”

    The New Year’s Eve concert, which attracts up to 30,000 people to Queen Victoria Park, is a nationally televised event.

    Also performing will be Moeraes Fate, the winner of this summer’s inaugural youDiscover music competition, as well as runner-up Robyn Dell’ Unto.

    NPC comes under fire

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Holding annual general meetings could help the Niagara Parks Commission regain the public’s confidence, a government report says. It’s an idea chairman Jim Williams said he pitched when consultants prepared the report in the spring.

    “That would give the public an opportunity to pose whatever questions they would have. It would also give us a chance to say, ‘Here’s the year in review’ and the next couple of years in advance,” Williams said Monday, responding to the release of two full reports whose summaries had only been made public in September.

    “I would love to get in front of an audience and say why we went ahead with the Maid of the Mist lease,” he said, referring to the controversial deal that put the commission under the government’s microscope for a year and a half.

    Delegation from ‘Great Wall’ visits Table Rock

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    There’s a new picture hanging inside Table Rock House -one that symbolizes the friendship and co-operation between two famous attractions a world apart.

    On Thursday, Niagara Parks Commission chairman Jim Williams, Mayor Ted Salci and Regional Chairman Peter Partington welcomed a delegation from China’s YanQing County and the Badaling Great Wall Administration to Table Rock.

    The NPC has a partnership with officials there for cross promotion of the two iconic destinations and for the exchange of information about preservation efforts.

    The parties unveiled a picture of the Great Wall of China as part of the official greeting ceremony.

    Parks to finish review of Maids lease by Oct. 1

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Members of the Niagara Parks Commission will complete a government- ordered review of its lease with the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. “no later than Oct. 1,” chairman Jim Williams says.

    Commissioners met last week to consider advice from the provincial government and their own legal staff, and to chart a course for reviewing the lease.

    “We had a meeting, but it wasn’t to arrive at a decision,” Williams said in an interview.

    A decision will come later this month, when commissioners hold a special session to consider the lease question.

    Border requirements impact local tourism

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Canadian tourism industry is experiencing its longest period of decline since the 9-11 terrorist attacks almost eight years ago, according to Statistics Canada report released Monday.

    But if the recent experience of the Niagara Parks Commission is a good indication of what’s happening elsewhere in Niagara, Ontario and across Canada today, the Statistics Canada figures showing a 1.3 per cent decrease in tourism spending during the first quarter of 2009 will be seen as comparatively good news.

    Parks commission chairman Jim Williams says the NPC has seen its revenues fall sharply since the beginning of June when new border-crossing regulations came into effect.

    “We were actually having a fairly good turnaround from Nov. 1 until May 31,” said Williams. “Overall, our numbers were up eight per cent or thereabouts, year over year.

    “But since the beginning of June, there has been a dramatic decline … We’ve experienced anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent decline in all of our various revenue generating operations just since June 1.”

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