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Niagara Falls
Monday, April 15, 2024
Niagara Parks Commission board seats left vacant

A void was left where previous chair of the Niagara Parks Commission once sat.

As of Nov. 15, 2018, Janice Thomson’s term as chair came to an end, as predetermined at the beginning of her occupancy.

The position has yet to be filled.

Thomson says it was under her understanding that the Doug Ford government was going to fill the seat, along with many others.

“I was advised that the position would be posted when it became available, but I haven’t seen any postings yet. It’s their prerogative to fill those positions.”

She says she would like to be considered for the role again.

“I’m very committed to the works of the Parks Commission. It served the people of Ontario well.”

Over her seven-year tenure, Thomson says, with the help of the Ministry of Tourism, she moved the organization forward from a $76 million operation to a current revenue of $120 million.

“From losing money to an organization that has a surplus.”

She says the money goes back into maintenance, growth and beautification of the area.

The board she was working with, she says, played a key role in moving the organization to where it is now.

“Taking great steps to procure a professional senior management team who are dedicated, committed and experienced.”

Thomson says they worked hard to prepare a new 10-year strategic master plan and would like to see the plans carried out. With the board, she says she was working toward building up the parks to the benefit of locals and tourists alike.

“I’m really keen to be a part of the process.”

Concerned tax-payer, William Cochrane, says the government is leaving itself open by keeping the position vacant.

“This provincial gem is being eroded by political incompetence. To have no board governance at the top level is shameful.”

Cochrane says Thomson led a very successful Parks Commission and is concerned about potential issues that could arise with a lack of leadership and representation on the board.

“Why would you go looking for someone else.”

The Niagara Parks Board of Commissioners consists of 12 publicly appointed members. Responsible for providing strategic direction and advising minsters, members are accountable to the Government of Ontario. Currently, seven of the 12 positions on the board remain vacant, including both the chair and vice-chair seats.

In an email response, Danelle Balfour, media relations for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport said the ministry is in the process of filling the vacancies as the upcoming term expires on the Board of the Niagara Parks Commission.

“The ministry is committed to filling those positions in a timely fashion with the best candidates for the role. Once appointments come into effect, all provincial public appointments are posted on the Order in Council website as well as the Public Appointments Secretariat website.”

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