New re­gional coun­cil scraps NPCA board

Con­ser­va­tion au­thor­ity says Brick­ell axed as CAO

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - News - AL­LAN BENNER

Ni­a­gara’s new re­gional coun­cil­lors wasted no time bring­ing an end Ni­a­gara Penin­sula Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity lead­er­ship.

Fol­low­ing the pomp and cer­e­mony that ush­ered in a new term of re­gional coun­cil Thurs­day af­ter­noon — in­clud­ing a pro­ces­sion led by piper Alan Spencer as lo­cal cadets formed an hon­our guard, and the na­tional an­them per­formed by Leah Tracey — coun­cil­lors voted unan­i­mously to re­place Ni­a­gara’s 12 rep­re­sen­ta­tives on the em­bat­tled NPCA board of di­rec­tors, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

Mean­while, NPCA an­nounced Thurs­day evening that Mark Brick­ell is no longer the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, and has been re­placed on an in­terim ba­sis by Lisa McManus.

In a me­dia re­lease, the or­ga­ni­za­tion said it an­tic­i­pates the newly ap­pointed NPCA board will be­gin a com­pre­hen­sive process of re­cruit­ing a per­ma­nent CAO early next year.

St. Catharines Coun. Tim Rigby, who in re­gional coun­cil cham­bers in­tro­duced a mo­tion to re­place Ni­a­gara’s NPCA rep­re­sen­ta­tives with in­terim board mem­bers, said to his knowl­edge no pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion of re­gional coun­cil has taken sim­i­lar ac­tion at an in­au­gu­ral meet­ing.

“Cer­tainly, as long I’ve been here it hasn’t (been done), but it was re­ally nec­es­sary to get this thing done and move it for­ward and see,” said Rigby, who has sat on re­gional coun­cil since 1997.

But con­sid­er­ing re­cent ef­forts by the NPCA board to im­pose a 24-year-old pro­vin­cial di­rec­tive that was ren­dered in­valid in 1998 — do­ing so would have al­lowed pre­vi­ous board chair Sandy An­nun­zi­ata to over­see the ap­point­ment of the next board — Rigby said the Re­gion was left with lit­tle choice but to take ac­tion.

“There are go­ing to be other things that we are go­ing to have to deal with, but we can do it in process — the way it needs to be done,” he said.

The Re­gion’s de­ci­sion fol­lowed a res­o­lu­tion of St. Catharines city coun­cil last week that asked in­terim ap­point­ments be made at the in­au­gu­ral meet­ing.

St. Catharines Mayor Wal­ter Sendzik said the de­ci­sion “speaks to the in­ter­est of the in­com­ing coun­cil­lors that they want to get at things quickly, and this was def­i­nitely an iden­ti­fied is­sue dur­ing the cam­paign for a lot of the coun­cil­lors around here, in­clud­ing my­self.”

“This act to­day demon­strates that we’re go­ing to act swiftly and quickly on the is­sues that are fac­ing our com­mu­ni­ties — and I couldn’t be more proud of the de­ci­sion that we made.”

With so many new faces on re­gional coun­cil — 23 of them — Ni­a­gara’s newly sworn-in Re­gional Chair Jim Bradley said he ex­pects to see a “fresh ap­proach to a lot of the is­sues.”

He said the new coun­cil has a “com­mon­al­ity of in­ter­est in is­sues over­all per­vad­ing what we heard in the cam­paign.”

“I think you’ll see that re­flected.”

Newly ap­pointed NPCA board mem­bers will serve for a three­month pe­riod, giv­ing lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties time to de­ter­mine how the com­mu­ni­ties will be rep­re­sented with NPCA for the re­main­der of the four-year term.

BOB TYMCZYSZYN THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Coun­cil­lors pro­ceed to­ward their seats dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral meet­ing of Ni­a­gara’s re­gional coun­cil Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

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