Wednesday December 11, 2019
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Welland waterway in ‘revitalization’ mode

by Elena De Luigi

A revitalized waterway in the City of Welland is in the works. Home to the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC), the Rose city’s canal runs through the heart of its downtown core.

According to the City of Welland, the multi-phased redevelopment blueprint is to enhance the waterfront experience for tourists and locals, equipping it with swimming docks, a kayak facility, some residential properties, and more.

Record enrolment numbers are being met at Brock University. The St. Catharines based post-secondary school said it received applications from over 19,000 full- and part-time students across its seven faculties last fall, reaching the highest number of applications to its first-year programs it has ever seen.

This year, the numbers are in, and indicators suggest that even more Ontario high school students are choosing to continue their studies at Brock. In fact, the increase in applicants to the university exceeds the average growth rate for Ontario universities.

Facility upgrades underway at West Lincoln hospital

by Elena De Luigi

The Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) Board of Directors has given the go-ahead on a plan that would address safety concerns and maintain limited surgical and obstetrical services at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH).

The plan is to ensure that the hospital is meeting the appropriate standards of care for their patients.

Dr. Michael Stacey, Executive Vice President Academic and Chief Medical Executive for HHS, said that his main concern about the renovation plan is the safety surrounding cesarean sections.

Curtains up at The Shaw

by Elena De Luigi

Dress rehearsals, cues and curtain calls are in full swing at the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Productions such as C.S. Lewis’ classic The Horse and His Boy, Brigadoon, Getting Married, Rope and Victory have made it to the stage this season.

The non-profit theatre has just begun its 57 season, with 13 productions being performed in rotational repertory. That means that all of the plays are available every week, and they are staged daily in every theatre at the Shaw.

New worlds, lifeforms and all things alien made the long trip from space to Niagara. Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, known as the perfect storybook setting, hosted Star Trek: Discovery while they filmed parts of season two of the show.

The CBS television series chose the conservation area as their setting for a distant planet called ‘New Eden,’ which is a place inhabited by a colony of pre-warp humans peacefully living together.

Niagara’s Forty under 40 receive business award

by Elena De Luigi

The annual 40 Under Forty Business Achievement Awards were presented to the winners in St. Catharines on Thursday.

According to Business Link Media Group, there were 119 nominees for the 2019 awards.

Established in Niagara in 2003, the recipients of the Achievement Award are 40 business people who are under the age of 40 that have excelled in the business industry, contributed to their community, and participated in charity work.

Feds announce tourism strategy

by Elena De Luigi

MPs Vance Badawey and Chris Bittle visited Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery in St. Davids on Wednesday to announce a $58.5 million investment strategy to help grow Canada’s tourism industry.

Badawey and Bittle were at the winery on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Canada’s minister of tourism.

The federal government said that the two-year plan would create 54,000 new jobs and increase the tourism sector revenue by 25 per cent to $128 billion by 2025, bolstering growth and diversifying the already booming sector.

Pay it forward with BarterPay

by Elena De Luigi

BarterPay Inc. has helped Canadian business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals get what they need without using money for the last 22 years.

Headquartered in Stoney Creek, BarterPay exists to help business owners across Canada grow their business using barter. The company has a presence in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Physicians flock to Niagara

by Elena De Luigi

Physician recruitment in Niagara has come a long way. It wasn’t that long ago when Niagara residents read headline after headline about physician shortages throughout the region. Today however, those problems seem like a distant memory.

According to Niagara Health, there are over 500 doctors in Niagara, 34 of whom were recruited in the last year. In the last six years, Niagara Health said they recruited 150 physicians, resulting in more care that is closer to home for Niagara’s residents. However, like most communities across Ontario there is still a shortage of family physicians.

Scheer says “cost-of-living crunch” happening in Canada

by Elena De Luigi

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) hosted Progressive Conservative leader Andrew Scheer at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on Friday.

Scheer gave a speech and participated in a Q&A session with CHBA chief executive officer Kevin Lee and Stefanie Coleman, the organization’s president; much like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did the previous day.

“There is no national Canadian housing market. We have many different markets in this country. And government policies need to be flexible and recognize that. Not only do we need a better plan, we need one that recognizes diversity in the Canadian housing market,” Scheer said in his speech addressing the crowd.

Niagara has experienced an industrial boom over the past few years, and the region has attracted approximately $500 million in investment in industrial building construction, according to statistics from Niagara Economic Development.

Blake Landry, Manager of Economic Research & Analysis at Niagara Economic Development, sent a statement to The Niagara Independent on the current climate of the region’s industry.

In an email, Landry said that there are 16,500 direct jobs in manufacturing and that it supports an additional 50,000 jobs in other industries.

Trudeau addresses home builders in Niagara

by Elena De Luigi

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) convention was held in Niagara Falls this week at the Scotiabank Convention Centre. The week-long event hosted many guest speakers, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The prime minister did not take formal questions from the media, but he did participate in a Q&A session with CHBA CEO Kevin Lee and Stefanie Coleman, CHBA’s president.

Trudeau was asked about affordable housing, supply infrastructure and skilled trade.

The first of three phases to redevelop Table Rock Centre in Niagara Falls has been completed. The well-known tourist site reopened its doors to the public on May 1, welcoming guests to the newly renovated Table Rock restaurant and gift shop.

On Tuesday, the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) hosted an official preview event to showcase the renovations to the public. NPC Chair, Sandie Bellows, said she is proud of how the first phase of the redevelopment project has come together.

Funny business

by Elena De Luigi

Oh Canada Eh? is celebrating 25 years in Niagara. Their 26th season is now underway at the Log Cabin Theatre in Niagara Falls.

What is Oh Canada Eh? do you ask? It is a two-hour production filled with Canadian music by a singing Mountie, a hockey player, and of course, Anne of Green Gables. Also, as you are enjoying the music, the same singing Mountie and Anne are serving you a five-course meal.

Lee Siegel, the production’s Artistic Director said it is all about honouring Canada every time they get on stage.

New shelter diversion program opens in Niagara

by Elena De Luigi

A new program for Niagara’s youth has recently opened up at the RAFT to help prevent people aged 16 to 24 from getting into the shelter system.

Executive Director of the RAFT, Michael Lethby, said the new program is called the ‘Shelter Diversion’ program, and it is the program model that was determined to be the most effective in helping young people find other options before they experience homelessness.

“Shelter Diversion isn’t about saying no, it’s about saying what else,” Lethby said. He also said that shelters are never their first solution for children. Their biggest priority is the safety of the person asking for help.

NPCA ‘headed in right direction’

by Elena De Luigi

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) received a Supplementary Application notice on Apr. 11 from A Better Niagara (ABN), a local advocacy group who sought a decision for the number of Board Members Niagara is allowed to have.

In a press release, NPCA Board Chair Dave Bylsma stated that the Board had made progress on addressing the appointment issues.

“While we realize the NPCA board makeup is a top priority to ABN, the governance issue is only one of the many important tasks that the Board and the CAO have been working on to put this important organization back on track.”

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