New regional council scraps NPCA board
Conservation authority says Brickell axed as CAO
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.
Councillors proceed toward their seats during the inaugural meeting of Niagara’s regional council Thursday afternoon.