Tag: provincial agency

    Niagara Parks Commission and city of Niagara Falls reach deal on voluntary payments to municipality

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    From Bullet News Niagara:

    The Niagara Parks Commission and city of Niagara Falls have settled a two-year spat over voluntary payments that the provincial agency makes to the municipality in lieu of property taxes.

    With no public discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting (the matter was passed in a bulk reading of bylaws) Niagara Falls politicians approved a new 15-year agreement which will see the Commission pay the city about $1.2 million annually starting Dec. 1, 2013 in exchange for services such as firefighting, water and sewer delivery, and some limited snow plowing and road maintenance.

    “It’s a good agreement – we’re glad it’s finally settled,” NPC Chairwoman Janice Thomson said.

    NPC conducted ‘inappropriate, unacceptable’ actions: Auditors

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Two provincial audits into the Niagara Parks Commission concluded “some of the actions taken by former staff were inappropriate and unacceptable.”

    The audits, conducted during the past several months by the Ministry of Finance and publicly released Friday, look into past executive expenses, procurement practices and revenue generating opportunities at the parks commission.

    The provincial agency has had to deal with revelations of extravagant spending by a former executive, as well as questions about how it awards contracts to buy goods, services and other practices.

    “We conclude that for the expense areas reviewed, in a significant number of instances, the NPC was not in compliance with the (Management Board of Cabinet) travel, meal and hospitality expenses directive,” states one of the audit reports.

    The Niagara Falls Review also has the entire report available for you to read.

    Ontario tourism minister didn’t force people-mover deal on Parks Commission: Niagara Falls MPP

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    From Bullet News Niagara:

    A pending deal between the City of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Parks Commission to create a new people-mover bus system to service the millions of visitors to the Honeymoon Capital each year was no shotgun wedding.

    While Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor acknowledges he and Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan were asked to help resolve an impasse in negotiations between the parties in recent weeks, the minister did not force a deal on the provincial agency, whose chairwoman Fay Booker continues to raise concerns about the impact the new system could have on Niagara Parks’ revenue stream.

    “No – I don’t think that’s true,” said Craitor, when asked if the ministry put pressure on Booker and the commission to get the deal done.

    Booker takes NPC to heart: Niagara Parks chairwoman marks first year on the job

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    On a sunny Saturday in March, Fay Booker surrounded herself with the next generation of plant experts – graduating students from the Niagara Parks Commission’s horticultural school. Their graduation ceremony recognized eight students in a specialized program whose labour keeps the Botanical Gardens attraction in shape.

    “The Niagara Parks has an ability to get into your heart very quickly,” she told the budding horticulturists. Her speech was peppered with “we” and “our” as she talked about her vision of employees and commissioners working together as stewards of the natural parklands and historic sites the provincial agency is responsible for.

    More management changes coming at NPC, chairwoman says

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    More changes in senior management are coming up at the Niagara Parks Commission where two of its nine directors have left recently, says chairwoman Fay Booker.

    The sudden departure of revenue, marketing and business development director Joel Noden Tuesday and the planned retirement of engineer Nick Murphy mean there are two vacancies in the upper echelon of the provincial agency that manages public land along the Niagara River.

    Parks Commission regrouping

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    From Niagara This Week:

    Niagara Parks Commission Chairwoman Fay Booker has no immediate plans to replace departed Parks executive Joel Noden – at least not until the provincial agency goes through an extensive strategic planning process.

    “We’ll have to see,” Booker said Tuesday. “This isn’t our busiest time of the year. We’re coming into some down-time now, so this gives us the opportunity to take a step back, to look at everything and see how it’s best for us to proceed.”

    Noden leaves parks commission

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Joel Noden, one of the Niagara Parks Commission’s nine-member senior management team, left the provincial agency Tuesday.

    “Joel has decided to look at some other interests he has,” said Fay Booker, the chairwoman of the provincial agency.

    He left the commission Tuesday, but Booker wouldn’t say whether it was his decision or the commission’s.

    Bring GO to Niagara Falls, says Region

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Regional council has asked GO Transit to find a way to extend daily train service to Niagara Falls.

    Metrolinx, the provincial agency in charge of GO Transit, is studying a possible expansion of the popular commuter service into Niagara.

    GO is looking at four different expansion routes, including one that follows the northern peninsula CN rail line all the way to Niagara Falls.

    But GO officials have said that route may require a costly bridge over — or tunnel under — the Welland Canal to avoid ship traffic. GO is also considering an option that would see the train stop in St. Catharines, with travelers boarding buses to continue to the Honeymoon Capital.

    But at Thursday’s meeting, regional council approved a staff recommendation to push for train service all the way to Niagara Falls — and beyond, possibly to Fort Erie.

    ‘Eyes on the road’ at NPC, chairwoman Booker says

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Running the Niagara Parks Commission should be like driving a bus, says Fay Booker, the provincial agency’s new chairwoman, whose reputation for helping corporations understand how they govern themselves appears to be one of the reasons she landed the job.

    General manager John Kernahan should be the driver and the 12 government- appointed commissioners should be like well-informed passengers who have chartered him to take them where they want to go, but watch the road to make sure they get there.

    “I expect the general manager to be driving the bus,” Booker said in an interview last Wednesday, the day her appointment became official. “But the board will be on the bus and will have given direction of where we expect to be going.”

    NPC holds speakers to 5 minutes

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Five minutes isn’t enough time to explain complicated legal or financial positions during Niagara Parks Commission meetings, says James Bannister, a consultant and member of the Preserve Our Parks group that monitors what goes on at the commission.

    During their monthly meeting Friday, commissioners adopted a five-minute time limit for presentations from members of the public. How long and how often to let members of the public address commissioners is one of the issues members of the provincial agency responsible for the land and attractions along the Niagara River had to come to terms with as a result of their December decision to hold their meetings in public.

    Bannister, a retired lawyer, looked at his watch while acting chairman Archie Katzman read a two-page report.

    “It took him four and a half minutes to get through that and he was kind of skimming. That shows you the limits of what you can get done in five minutes,” Bannister said.

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