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‘Citizens must be heard’ on NPCA crisis, OPSEU’s Thomas says

Office of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA).

St. Catharines – The President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is calling on citizens in the Niagara Region to make themselves heard about the controversy swirling around the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA).

“The people of Niagara Region have been learning the truth about the NPCA for the past couple of years,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Now they’ve cut their watershed management staff in half, and it’s been reported that the NPCA chair has had secret talks to turn the review of certain development applications over to the region.

“The NPCA is not working in the best interests of citizens or the interests of their children and grandchildren,” he said. “It’s time for all of us to take action together – citizens must be heard.”

Cindy Forster, NDP MPP for Welland spoke at a news conference with Thomas this morning at which statements from Jim Bradley, Liberal MPP for St. Catharines, and Sam Oosterhoff, PC MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook, were read aloud.

“The all-party support on this issue shows the desire of local MPPs to preserve the integrity of the Niagara watershed,” said Thomas. “But the NPCA has gone rogue. So if they won’t listen to politicians, they better get ready to answer to the people.”

The NPCA has adopted a pro-development agenda at the expense of the watershed, Thomas said.

“By its actions, the NPCA is betraying its responsibility to protect the sensitive ecosystem of the Niagara watershed,” he said. “Conservation work needs to stay with the conservation authority, and these layoffs need to be rescinded now.

“Starting today, we are taking it to the people of Niagara Region with a grassroots, direct action campaign to hold the NPCA to account.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931