17 petitions

This petition won 3 months ago

Petition to Bill Mauro, Kathryn McGarry, Fred Eisenberger, Ken Hewitt, Alan Caslin, Sandy Annunziata, James Kaspersetz, Brian Baty, J. Stewart Beatti, Frank Campion, Patrick Darte, Jim Diodati, April Jeffs, Douglas Joyner, JOHN MALONEY, Tony Quirk, Rob Shirton, Bruce Timms, Walter Sendzik, Kathleen Wynne

Accountability at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

WHEREAS there is a perception of a proclivity to favour developers at the expense of conservation and the NPCA’s official mandate; despite irrefutable, documented evidence, the NPCA has neglected to enforce conservation regulations when the infraction involves a developer.   WHEREAS the Board has demonstrated favouritism to friends, and fellow Board members, by awarding untendered contracts to under-qualified individuals replacing professional, well trained, fully qualified employees; The Board has further engendered a toxic environment for employees, and Board members, who disagree with their actions by threatening action in the event of perceived "whistle-blowing". WHEREAS we feel the only way to stop the uncontrolled destruction of our green spaces in the name of development is to dissolve the Board of Directors of the NPCA and appoint a caretaker board. THEREFORE   We demand Premier Wynne show some leadership in this urgent issue and stepin to that end; We demand the municipalities which contribute to the NPCA immediately recall their representatives until such a time as a complete forensic audit is completed; we recommend any future board comprise at minimum half citizen representatives with relevant specializations to be selected after an application process;  we recommend any future board be prohibited from stacking mayors as it is perceived to be a conflict of interest. For more information or to contact the Save Thundering Waters Forest crew, email us at: email the STWF6 crew at: stwf6info@gmail.comSome highlights of recent controversy include, though are not limited to: Member of the Board of Directors, Mayor Frank Campion, is on tape stating he believes the board should resign and questions whether there should be a criminal investigation of the NPCA. An employee of Niagara Region has come forward alleging that Regional matters are improperly discussed and strategy agreed on, out of public view, in closed-door meetings among the mayors and CAOs of Niagara’s municipalities. Together, the region’s mayors, make up 12 of the 30 votes on Niagara Regional Council and 5 of the 15 votes on the NPCA board. This is a clear conflict of interest and violation of Ontario Municipal Act, 2001, c. 25, s. 239 (1). The NPCA is using public funds to sue a citizen, Ed Smith, claiming defamation after a citizen lead investigation, through the Freedom of Information Act, resulted in the publication of a report “A Call for Accountability at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority”. The report, circulated in October 2016, was critical of the way NPCA operates and accused the agency of being rife with conflicts of interest issues; the NPCA has yet to deny, or respond to, most of the allegations contained within. The NPCA has refused to enforce provincial regulations when the complaint is made by a citizen against a developer nor force remediation of the land. 3.1 A citizens complainants regarding potential development and past infilling of a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) at Coyle Creek in Welland. Requests by Welland MPP Cindy Forester for an update as to an enforcement plan for the developer to remediate this PSW remain unanswered; the NPCA state the matter is closed. At Draper's Creek in Welland a drainage pipe was installed in the middle of a PSW. The drainage pipe was reported by an adjacent landowner to the City of Welland and to the NPCA. The city of Welland staff verified the existence of the illegal drain pipe, tracing it to the end point, verifying that the swamp was being drained into the city's drainage system. An appeal was filed by the adjacent landowner to have the developer forced to remediate the land by simply removing the drainage pipe, the NPCA has refused. The NPCA used public funds to hire lobbyists to actively promote biodiversity offsetting, and “compensation”, in furtherance of their development agenda. On June 19th, 2017, the chair of the NPCA told Lincoln town council his agency needs to focus solely on water and the effects of water. “We are not an environmental protection agency”, Sandy Annunziata. In January, 2017, a majority of Niagara’s municipal councils, Hamilton council and all four Niagara MPPs called for an audit of the agency. The board initially declined an offer by the provincial auditor general to do an audit at no cost to the Board. In April, the Board changed its mind, cancelling its bidding process to hire an auditor. According to the Auditor General’s official Twitter account, no audit is scheduled. There exists a culture of fear within the NPCA:7.1 On February 8, 2017, OPSEU release a statement regarding recent lay-offs. “In a workplace with 32 bargaining unit employees, there are over 20 managers.  Currently there are 10 active grievances, all at arbitration – about one grievance for every three unionized employees. Instead of working with the union to settle grievances in early stages, NPCA senior staff routinely spend public money on expensive arbitration hearings.” - Warren “Smokey” Thomas, President OPSEU. On July 19, 2017, OPSEU released the results of a stress survey, conducted in cooperation with OHCOW, which asked them to evaluate the psychological climate in their workplace. Almost 90 per cent of NPCA employees completed the survey, Two-thirds of NPCA employees indicated they have experienced workplace bullying, while 70 per cent say they have witnessed “offensive behaviours”. A culture of questionable ethics/behaviours continues to exist:8.1 On June 12, 2017, Sandy Annunziata, chairman, asked that a video of the board’s January meeting be edited to remove footage of two board members appearing to give a Nazi salute. The video shows Welland Mayor Frank Campion and Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati making the gesture; Mayors Campion and Diodati verbally apologized; the video was removed from YouTube and edited before being reloaded. The mayors were not censured nor was further action taken. 8.2 By comparison, board member Bill Hodgson, of Lincoln, had been urging the Board to take steps to reassure the public of the agency’s integrity in the wake of the “A Call for Accountability” report (see items #4 and 5). On April 26, 2017, in a special meeting, behind closed doors, the Board voted to censure Mr Hodgson, refusing to release any further information. A two-thirds majority of 12 members would require eight members to vote in favour of a motion.The public vote to confirm the decisions made in confidential session was seven in favour and four against; the motion passed in contravention of the requirement. Amidst allegations of bullying and harassment, after being improperly censured, Councillor Hodgson has since resigned.  

Emily Spanton
654 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Glen Murray, Mayor French and Springwater Council, MPP Bill Mauro

Save our farms and rare wetland from mega-development

The Midhurst Secondary Plan proposes to turn a small, rural community of 3,500 people into a small city of almost 30,000! At stake are the local farms on prime agricultural land that will be sacrificed for development land (up to almost 1,900 acres). Moreover, the health of a small local creek and the nearby, internationally significant Minesing Wetlands are threatened by 10.6 million litres of effluent that will be pumped in daily from the proposed sewage treatment facility. These wetlands contain fragile ecosystems and in some parts, rare or sensitive species of flora and fauna.  Based on what we stand to lose or destroy, failure to stop this massive over-development is NOT an option.    In addition, the people of Midhurst have overwhelmingly shown their disapproval of such a massive development through several actions including a petition and high attendance during a recent township meeting. Still, this rural community, its farms and water are under threat. Also, the municipality has provided little factual evidence that this development will bring any benefit to the citizens (e.g. local jobs, lower taxes).   This fight is about ensuring that people of a community have a right to be heard by their government, that they have a right to choose to preserve their natural resources and farms and that even when faced against formidable opposition, small voices can be turned into thunderous roars.

Midhurst Ratepayers' Association
48,174 supporters
Started 4 months ago

Petition to Mayor's Office, City of Toronto

Close The Gates (Stand Up For The Humber)

This is a petition to permanently close the seasonal gates that are bringing car traffic into the Humber River corridor. Why now? It’s unsafe. It’s impossible to enforce existing bylaws effectively This is a conservation park intended for recreation and enjoyment, not a freeway This is an important wetland facing several conservation challenges, it needs our help not new problems Our forests and wetlands provide clean water/air, climate regulation, habitat for plant and animal life, a natural water cycle and healthy/vibrant community hubs for recreation and enjoyment. We can be the generation that took a stance to protect what we have and keep Toronto traffic out of this important ecosystem. In 2017, there's no denying the health of communities and their natural systems are linked.  The Humber is an ecological treasure recognized for its significant cultural and recreational contribution to Toronto and the surrounding area. While great efforts are underway by the Canadian Heritage Rivers System (Canada's National River Conservation Program) and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to protect and restore this vibrant ecosystem, there is one clear thing we can do to help now: keep traffic congestion out. Home Smith Park is the stretch of the river that runs along the west side from Old Mill to Dundas. At present, much of this green space is prioritized around car access with no regard to conservation, pedestrians or cyclists. Quite literally the entire park is a road in some stretches, with a few inches on the shoulder and the river next to it. Unlike High Park, this stretch is simply too narrow to be shared safely. There is a posted speed limit of 20 but you can routinely observe cars doing 3-4x that limit as they run into morning/evening traffic on Dundas and fly down here for an alternate route south. We have observed increased usage due to rising congestion on Dundas and are concerned because this will only accelerate in the years ahead. Municipal Licensing and Standards isn’t equipped or trained to enforce speed limits of bylaw 608. Division 22 of the Toronto Police Service has a lot of ground to cover and doesn’t tend to this stretch regularly. This natural oasis that's heavily protected is dominated by car traffic during the busiest months of the year with very little monitoring and enforcement. Most cars that make their way down pass right through and don't actually exit to use the park as once envisioned. Many who do stop remain in their cars with the engine running continuously, in violation of idling bylaws that are difficult to enforce. The TRCA’s annual report highlights shrinking natural vegetation cover in of the top threats to the Lower Humber watershed. Instead of prioritizing cars over all other users of the park, including deer and other wildlife that pass through here daily, we can do much more to restore the watershed through tree planting and stewardship while improving safety and accessibility for all age groups. By any measure of public benefit, the east side of the river (where there is no car access) performs better on any given day, across age groups. The benefits of a healthy Humber ecosystem to the GTA are widespread. Isn't good governance  simply about putting the well-being of the many ahead of the preference of a few? With the number of new developments under construction along Dundas and Bloor over the next 3 years, the community is going to rely on this space more than ever. Families need to a place to enjoy nature safely without having to check over their shoulders for speeding cars. What should be a corridor devoted to conservation, recreation and community is instead used primarily as a "drive through" experience, encouraging late night alcohol/drug use, sex and prostitution. At nights, you can routinely see cars driving the wrong way to exit on the north side on a 1-way southbound road. The unsupervised nature of this corridor makes it a dangerous place for pedestrians and cyclists and its usage reflects this. Toronto deserves a world-class river that we can all be proud, please join us in making it a reality. 

Christine Davis
144 supporters