After a short delay to the start of 2022, Niagara staff and students will be back in the classroom for face-to-face instruction next week. Photo credit: Pexels/Rodnae Productions   Monday marks the return to in-person learning for Ontario’s two million elementary and secondary school students.  And despite some hesitancy on the part of certain parents, […]

children in the classroom

User samples one of Norgen Biotek’s innovative COVID-19 saliva-based test kits. Photo credit: Twitter/Norgen Biotek Corp.   With COVID-19 tests becoming scanter across Ontario, a local manufacturer has stepped up to the plate and partnered with the province to create several million more PCR test kits.  On Thursday, it was announced that Thorold-based Norgen Biotek […]

covid 19 test

St. Catharines MP faces backlash after another social media spat

by Nicholas Tibollo

 Liberal MP for St. Catharines Chris Bittle (left) attacked Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (right) for simply retweeting a comment from Dr. Jordan Peterson on social media. Photo credit: iPolitics/Matthew Usherwood   A local politician no stranger to social media flubs was back at it again earlier this week.  On Monday, Liberal MP for St. Catharines […]

Bittle and Polliviere

Are officials considering reclosing the U.S.-Canada land border?

by Nicholas Tibollo

A recent letter sent to President Joe Biden and the DHS from two local congressmen and New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand appears to imply another border closure may be in the works. Photo credit: Agence France-Presse/Lars Harberg    Late last week, high profile Democratic U.S. senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Western New York congressmen Brian Higgins […]

USA/Canadian border

Community comes together to bid farewell to local tourism leader

by Nicholas Tibollo

Charlie Burland passed of cancer at the age of 54 in December. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   Frigid temperatures and biting winds couldn’t stop hundreds of family members, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and former employees from lining up along Clifton Hill Monday afternoon to honour local tourism leader Charlie Burland. Burland, who was president […]

With scuttled internal audit division, Niagara Region buries another audit report

by The Niagara Independent

In addition to burying a report of homelessness, staff at Niagara Region continue to cancel scheduled Audit Committees. The Niagara Independent has learned another audit report, this time on garbage collection, was also withheld from the Audit Committee and the public. Photo credit: North Middlesex   In November, The Niagara Independent reported that regional staff […]

waste and recycling bins

Only six regional councillors voted to oppose the recommendation from the City of St. Catharines to appoint Mat Siscoe (left): Leanna Villella from Welland, Bob Gale from Niagara Falls, Marvin Junkin from Pelham, Dave Bylsma from West Lincoln, Barbara Butters from Port Colborne, and Tim Whalen from Thorold. Based on policy and precedent, Mike Britton […]

Siscoe, Britton

Niagara Health’s St. Catharines site. Photo credit: Infrastructure Ontario   Overwhelmed by increased demand and an ever-growing staff shortage fueled by the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, Niagara Health has taken dramatic action to maintain adequate levels of care at its facilities.  On Tuesday, the organization announced it was temporarily closing Fort Erie’s urgent care […]

St Catharines hospital

Conservative MP for Niagara West Dean Allison was not pleased by Premier Ford’s recent decision to reinstate a number of COVID-19-related restrictions. However, the seven-time member of parliament said that Prime Minister Trudeau (right) and his government can take away the main issue used to justify reinstating lockdown measures by adequately funding healthcare. Photo credit: […]

Premier Ford and PM Trudeau

Local emergency services under strain

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: Twitter/Niagara EMS   COVID-19 is putting immense pressure on Niagara’s emergency departments and medical care and transport services. However, it doesn’t appear to be the virulence of the virus itself causing the strain. Late last week, both Niagara Health and Niagara EMS put out public statements claiming that elements of their respective operations […]

Niagara EMS

The decision from the City of St. Catharines to recommend Mat Siscoe (left) over “next place finisher” Mike Britton (right) to fill a government vacancy has come under immense scrutiny in recent weeks, leading to a petition, community pushback, a legal challenge, and now formal conflict of interest complaints.    As reported by The Niagara […]

Siscoe, Britton

Fort Erie physician goes above and beyond call of duty to offer daily COVID-19 testing

by Alejandro Vasquez Coronado

Dr. R.J. Kamatovic tends to a line-up of cars behind his Fort Erie medical clinic, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. One of the few doctors to offer regular PCR COVID-19 testing to the community throughout the pandemic, Dr. Kamatovic and his team meet patients at their cars Monday to Friday, rain, snow, or shine. Photo credit: […]

Current St. Catharines city councillor Mat Siscoe (left) and former city councillor Mike Britton (right). As the ‘next-place-finisher’ in the 2018 St. Catharines regional councillor race, precedent and policy would have seen Britton selected to fill the regional seat vacated by the passing of Sandie Bellows. However, St. Catharines city council – in contravention of […]

Siscoe, Britton

Great Wolf Lodge closes due to rise in COVID-19 case numbers

by Nicholas Tibollo

Less than five months after reopening following a year and a half-long closure, the popular Niagara Falls resort has once again shut its doors to patrons. Photo credit: iHeartRadio   Families hoping to spend New Year’s 2022 amid the log cabin bunkbeds and twirling waterslides at Great Wolf Lodge were emailed an unpleasant surprise earlier […]

Great Wolf Lodge

Niagara community mourns loss of local tourism leader Charlie Burland

by Nicholas Tibollo

The Burland family has owned and operated numerous properties (right) on the north side of Clifton Hill for nearly a century. Charlie (left) took over the family business in the 1990s. He would have been 55 in January.    Niagara lost one of its most prominent local tourism leaders with the passing of Charlie Burland […]

Charlie Burland

Niagara Health bans visitors

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara Health facility in St. Catharines. Photo credit: Infrastructure Ontario   On Dec. 28, Niagara Health implemented a series of restrictions at its facilities.  Visitors are no longer permitted at hospitals. All Essential Care Partners (ECPs) must be fully vaccinated and will only be permitted at the bedside with patients with a length of stay […]

hospital

Christmas message from community faith leader

by Bishop Gerard Bergie

Most Reverend Gerard Bergie, Bishop of St. Catharines.   Life is full of signs and symbols that can either teach, warn, or inspire us. Some are familiar and easily recognized. Others are more obscure and require greater reflection. A very few are mysterious and require deep contemplation. We find an example of this at Christmas. […]

Bishop Bergie

Home of St. Catharines councillor targeted by vandals

by Nicholas Tibollo

 It’s the third of three similar incidents to occur to a public official in St. Catharines in the last four months. Photo credit: Twitter/Karrie Porter    The private residence of a St. Catharines city councillor was reportedly targeted by vandals earlier this week. On Wednesday, Dec. 22, St. Patrick’s Ward councillor Karrie Porter awoke to […]

Fort Erie to receive $7.4 million in disaster recovery funding

by Nicholas Tibollo

Part of the Waverly Beach boardwalk in Fort Erie. A 2019 storm caused significant damage to municipal infrastructure around the community, including the boardwalk. Photo credit: Pixabay   Christmas came early for the Town of Fort Erie, thanks to the Ford government.  In a bulletin released Wednesday, the province announced that Ontario is providing the […]

Mayor’s tie-breaking vote triggers community dissent and legal concerns

by The Niagara Independent

Mayor of St. Catharines Walter Sendzik (right) broke a council tie on Dec. 13 that ultimately led to current councillor Mat Siscoe (right) being recommended to fill a regional vacancy. The move went against policy and precedent, initiating a petition and a legal challenge from the staff-advised candidate.     As previously reported by The Niagara […]

Local chambers of commerce see significant uptick in demand for rapid tests

by Kaitlin Gibson

In partnership with the Government of Ontario, the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce offers local businesses free rapid antigen COVID-19 testing kits. The last few weeks have brought a significant increase in demand. Photo credit: CTV News   In a perpetual bid to keep the local community safe against the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the […]

Prior to the pandemic, nearly half of all annual passengers at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (pictured) were Canadian. It was recently announced that the airport would receive $7.3 million in federal funding as part of the U.S. bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last month. Photo credit: Facebook/BNIA   On Nov. 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed […]

More residents and businesses in rural Niagara gaining access to high-speed internet

by Nicholas Tibollo

Local officials announced the initiative at Accipiter Radar Technologies in Fenwick, Dec. 16, 2021. Pictured from left to right: Wayne Olsen, councillor, Town of Pelham; Marvin Junkin, mayor, Town of Pelham; Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West; Robert Foster, councillor, Niagara Region; and Dr. Tim Nohara, president and CEO of Accipiter Radar Technologies. Supplied photo. […]

Still image from livestream of St. Catharines council’s most recent meeting. Mayor Walter Sendzik listens to Councillor Karrie Porter argue in favour of selecting her ward colleague Mat Siscoe to fill the vacant seat at Regional Council. Sendzik broke the initial tie that denied staff’s recommendation to select the appropriate candidate based on established city […]

St. Catharines council meeting

Casino Niagara at the centre of the Niagara Falls skyline. The casino turned 25 on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. Photo credit: Public Domain Pictures   Last Thursday, Dec. 9 represented exactly 25 years since Casino Niagara officially opened its doors to the public, becoming Ontario’s second-ever casino, preceded only by its cross-border cousin in Windsor.  […]

Casino Niagara

Regional government set to raise taxes and fees for fourth consecutive year

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara residents already pay among the highest property levies and water rates in southern Ontario.   Last week, Niagara Region Council voted to increase property taxes and water rates, shouldering the costs of a bigger regional government on both residents and businesses. This is the fourth consecutive year of property tax increases, placing Niagara amongst […]

Region chambers

Photo credit: The National Post   On Monday, Dec. 13, Niagara Regional Police (NRP) issued charges against Marineland for use of “captive cetacean (dolphins and whales) for performance for entertainment purposes without authorization”.  The charges came after detectives commenced an investigation into allegations made against the Niagara Falls theme park in October of this year.  […]

Marineland

McNally House receives additional provincial funding to help offset COVID costs

by Nicholas Tibollo

From left to right: Mayor of Lincoln Sandra Easton; executive director at McNally House Pamela Blackwood; Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health Robin Martin; Mayor of Grimsby Jeff Jordan; MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff; board chair at McNally House Murray Bain; and Mayor of West Lincoln Dave Bylsma. Dec. 10, 2021. Supplied photo.  […]

Niagara readies to resettle two dozen Afghan families who escaped Taliban

by Kaitlin Gibson

Afghan refugees who supported Canada’s mission in Afghanistan prepare to board buses after arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Aug. 24, 2021. Niagara will accept 24 refugee families by March 2022. Photo credit: MCpl. Genevieve Lapointe/Canadian Forces Combat Camera   While the journey has been long for so many Afghan refugees who fled the takeover […]

Culinary students at local college serve out 3,000 meals to those in need

by Nicholas Tibollo

Culinary Management students at Niagara College work to create Christmas meals for Niagara’s vulnerable population. Photo credit: Niagara College   When it’s all said and done, by the end of the fall semester Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) will have dished out 3,000 free meals to those in need across the local […]

NC Feeds

Charity commits $75,000 towards children’s education space at Lincoln museum

by Nicholas Tibollo

Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre, where the new education space will be built. Photo credit: Town of Lincoln   On Wednesday, it was announced that the St. Catharines-based Wise Guys Charity Fund committed $75,000 to creating a children’s education space at the newly opened Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre: Home of the Jordan Historical Museum […]

Lincoln Centre

Despite Region’s massive reserves, no relief in sight for Niagara taxpayers

by The Niagara Independent

This term of Niagara Regional Council is poised to continue with its consecutive increases in property taxes and fees and, as a result, will be pocketing millions in surpluses.     For 2020, Niagara Region reported a budget surplus of $96 million. After removing budget adjustments related to Public Sector Accounting Standards (PSAS), the regional government […]

Niagara Region HQ sign

After recent hiring spree, Welland insurer looking for another 80 new recruits

by Nicholas Tibollo

 It’s the third time in 18 months Scoop Insurance has sought to expand local operations. Photo Credit: Anthony Gallaccio – Source: Discover Welland.   Though the pandemic has forced countless companies in Niagara to downsize, not all local businesses have suffered a loss of personnel. In fact, some companies – such as Welland-based Scoop Insurance […]

bridge with coloured lights

Niagara’s homeless gaining greater access to primary care with provincial support

by Nicholas Tibollo

Executive director of REACH Niagara David van Velzen (left) and MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff pose with REACH’s mobile health clinic. Supplied photo.    The Ontario government is providing increased funding to community service providers who help the local homeless population access high-quality primary health care where and when they need it. Working in […]

Reach Niagara van

Shadow minister for manufacturing talks new role, challenges facing the industry

by Kaitlin Gibson

Niagara Falls MP Tony Baldinelli was named Shadow Minister for Manufacturing and Export Promotion at the beginning of November. Pictured is Baldinelli (centre) at Hamill Machine Co. in Niagara Falls, Sept. 5, 2020.    Barely a month in and Niagara Falls MP Tony Baldinelli said he is thoroughly enjoying his new critic position.  On Nov. […]

Tony Baldinelli MP

Regional staff ignore homelessness crisis in Niagara, allegedly ‘bury’ audit report

by The Niagara Independent

Photo credit: Pexels/Harrison Haines   As reported to the Region’s Public Health and Social Services Committee on Jun. 15, 2021, regional staff identified 665 people experiencing homelessness in Niagara. Of that number, 18% were children (aged 0-15 years), over 10% were youth (16-24 years) and 5% were seniors (greater than 65 years). Yet, despite the […]

homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk

Concept illustration of the new West Niagara Secondary School in Lincoln. The new school will merge Grimsby Secondary School, Beamsville District Secondary School, and the former South Lincoln High School.   All good things must come to an end. And what an end it was for the Grimsby Secondary School varsity boys football team.  “Bittersweet […]

artist rendering of West Niagara high school

Tweets sent out by the District School Board of Niagara and Niagara Region Public Health on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Both warn of the spread of “misinformation” concerning parental consent for vaccination at schools.    Just as Ontario parents got the go-ahead to book vaccinations for youth under 12 on Tuesday, the District School Board of […]

tweets

Black Friday brings back local shoppers

by Kaitlin Gibson

Part of the Seaway Mall’s Christmas display, a gingerbread family greets patrons hunting for holiday deals at the Welland shopping centre. Photo credit: Facebook/Seaway Mall   It’s that time of year again. Yes, the time where families put up lights, decorate trees, and light menorahs. But more specifically, the time of year when shoppers frantically […]

Gingerbread

Despite uncertainty, Shaw Fest excited for historic season ahead

by Kaitlin Gibson

Next year represents the iconic Niagara-on-the-Lake theatre company’s 60th season. Pictured is Kyle Golemba as Ted Hanover, Vanessa Sears as Lila Dixon, and Kevin McLachlan as Radio Host in a performance of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, on now until Dec. 23 at the Shaw. Photo credit: Facebook/Shaw Festival   Just like Christmas carols, pine trees, […]

shaw

Accountability at Niagara Region: “senior management is not interested”

by The Niagara Independent

A general disinterest in maintaining financial accountability amongst top administrators is the message being delivered by professional and experienced internal auditors who were once with but have recently left Niagara Region.    With multiple project failures and associated lawsuits, the previous 2014-2018 Niagara Region Council approved a management plan to increase accountability and transparency in […]

Niagara Region welcome sign

Regional budget review: part one – the $96 million surplus

by The Niagara Independent

This is the first in a three-part series on the 2022 Niagara Region Budget. Part one focuses on tax surpluses, part two concentrates on water rates and capital budget, while part three reports on the general levy and the impact on property taxes.   The $96 Million Surplus The Region of Niagara continues to collect […]

Niagara Region HQ sign

One of Canada’s premier gaming, pop culture, and tech magazines moves to Niagara

by Nicholas Tibollo

Entrance to Comics and Gaming Magazine’s new office space in St. Catharines. Previously headquartered in Toronto, the company now has some 6,000 sq. ft. to grow and create. Supplied photo.   Another up-and-coming business has left the costly, crowded confines of the GTA for greener pastures in Niagara. Founded in 2010, Comics and Gaming Magazine […]

CGM office

Controversial former mayor of Pelham on ballot for provincial NDP

by The Niagara Independent

Former Pelham mayor Dave Augustyn with leader of the Ontario NDP Andrea Horwath in Fenwick, Nov. 12, 2021. Photo credit: Don Rickers   Like the mythical phoenix, former Pelham mayor David Augustyn is attempting to rise from the electoral ashes and return to public office. At a media event held last Friday in front of […]

Augustyn and Horwath MPP

Niagara Top Team’s Teshay Gouthro (right) in his pro MMA debut against Paul Fisher at BTC 6: Night of Champions, Jun. 1, 2019. Gouthro and a handful of other Niagara fighters will participate in Saturday evening’s BTC 13: Power at the Meridian Centre. The event will be the first large stadium MMA show in Ontario […]

Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole speaks to the media in Quebec City on Aug. 18, 2021. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz   In a statement released Friday, Canada’s Leader of the Official Opposition Erin O’Toole asked Primer Minister Justin Trudeau and the governing Liberals to further ease travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada […]

 Aerial view of Brock University’s main campus in St. Catharines. Photo credit: Brock University   As Niagara’s post-secondary institutions approach the end of the 2021 fall term, which featured a successful partial return to in-person classes, students and the community are wondering: will the winter term bring any changes?  Niagara College (NC) saw very high […]

Quartet of local students creates inspiring song to commemorate Remembrance Day

by Kaitlin Gibson

The four students at Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School were helped by their teacher and local singer-song writer Kathryn Sinopoli.    While arguments are often made that young people don’t respect or care about Remembrance Day, four local students made a conscious effort to prove nay-sayers wrong. Abby C., Kathryn K., Allie V., and […]

quartet

Baldinelli named manufacturing and export critic

by Nicholas Tibollo

Tony Baldinelli is sworn in as MP for Niagara Falls, Oct. 25, 2021. Photo credit: Facebook/Tony Baldinelli    Earlier this week, head of Canada’s Conservative Party and Leader of the Official Opposition Erin O’Toole named his shadow cabinet for the 44th Parliament. Many of the party’s most prominent MPs returned to former portfolios, with Candice […]

Baldinelli MP

Burgoyne Bridge costs continue to rise, while its developers continue to win contracts

by The Niagara Independent

The Burgoyne Bridge in St. Catharines. Photo credit: Canam-Bridges   A decade later, the Burgoyne Bridge costs continue to escalate at regional taxpayers’ expense. Back in 2010, the price tag to build the new Burgoyne Bridge in St. Catharines was $59 million.  The cost was to be split three ways between the federal, provincial, and […]

Burgoyne Bridge

Niagara Falls History Museum adorned with thousands of hand-knit poppies as part of the city’s Remembrance Day ‘Poppy Project’. Photo credit: Niagara Falls Museums   After a year of hosting virtual and private invite-only ceremonies, many of Niagara’s municipalities and veteran organizations are back offering in-person, open-to-the-public events this Remembrance Day. From West Lincoln to […]

Poppy Museum

From left to right: Janice Gardner-Spiece, Executive Director of Community Addiction Services of Niagara, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo, MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff, and MPP for Haldimand Norfolk Toby Barrett. The group announced provincial funding for a new local mobile mental health clinic at the Community Addiction and Mental […]

Community Addiction and Mental Health Services of Haldimand and Norfolk in Townsend

Plaza outside Niagara Parks Power Station renamed in honour of Sandie Bellows

by Nicholas Tibollo

Premier Doug Ford and Minister Lisa MacLeod stand with friends and family of Sandie Bellows in a small ceremony at the Niagara Parks Power Station on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   At a ceremony Thursday evening outside the new Niagara Parks Power Station, Premier Doug Ford and Ontario’s Minister of […]

Bellows cermony

Finding permanent medical officer of health ‘top priority’ for Niagara CAO

by Nicholas Tibollo

Niagara’s current acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji. It will be four years in January since Hirji took up the interim role at the Region.   It’s official: Niagara Region is actively on the hunt for a permanent medical officer of health.  At Regional Council on Oct. 21, a motion put forward by […]

Dr Hiriji

Curling club prepared to enter new era with major mechanical upgrade

by Kaitlin Gibson

The new chiller and pumps arrive for installation at the Niagara Falls Curling Club, Oct. 27, 2021. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Falls Curling Club    After the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the Niagara Falls Curling Club’s ability to stay open this past season, the organization is ready to welcome back members; but not before some […]

chill pump

Another senior DSBN administrator headed for directorship role, third in two years

by Kaitlin Gibson

Helen McGregor (left) is the third DSBN superintendent to be scouted to lead the administration at a school district outside of Niagara since 2020. She takes up her new role at the Vancouver District School Board (headquarters pictured right) in January.    The District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) must be doing something right.  Last […]

Helen McGregor

Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman (left) and U.S. Representative for New York’s 26th congressional district Brian Higgins (right). The pair met on Oct. 27, 2021 to discuss a variety of binational issues, including testing requirements to cross the border. Photo credit: Twitter/Kirsten Hillman   On Monday, Western New York congressman Brian Higgins penned […]

anada’s ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman (left) and U.S. Representative for New York’s 26th congressional district Brian Higgins

Shortlisted teams invited to submit proposals to design and build new South Niagara Hospital

by The Niagara Independent

The new hospital location at the corner of Montrose and Biggar roads in Niagara Falls. From left to right: Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, president and CEO of Niagara Health Lynn Guerriero, Ontario’s deputy premier and minister of health Christine Elliott, and provincial minister of infrastructure Kinga Surma.    On Oct. 28, Infrastructure Ontario and […]

new hospital location

Niagara Falls resident Wendy Long. Long is the founder of Afghan Canadian Interpreters, a group dedicated to helping rescue and resettle Afghan translators who helped Canadian Forces overseas from 2001 to 2014. Supplied photo.    A lot can change in two months. Wendy Long of Niagara Falls has lived out those words since August.  In […]

Wendy Long

Regional Council votes down discussion on declaring mental health state of emergency

by Nicholas Tibollo

Regional councillors Rob Foster and Tom Insinna. The representatives from Lincoln and Fort Erie, according to local mental health advocate Steven Soos, chose “political stunts” over helping people suffering from mental health, homelessness, and addiction by shutting down debate on declaring a formal state of emergency. However, according to Foster, the matter was thoroughly dealt […]

Councillors Foster and Insinna

Niagara runners-up reflect on federal campaign, talk future

by Kaitlin Gibson

 Local federal election Conservative candidates Graham Speck (left) and Krystina Waler (right). Photo credit: Facebook/Graham Speck and Facebook/Krystina Waler   Last Wednesday, Oct. 20 marked exactly one month since the country voted in the 44th General Election. Canadians largely voted in favor of the status quo, returning Justin Trudeau and the Liberals back to government […]

Speck and Waler

Historic sculpture stolen from cemetery found intact, but heavily damaged

by Nicholas Tibollo

The granite platform where the sculpture of Gen. Drummond stood undisturbed for over three decades. The statue was stolen from Drummond Hill Cemetery at the end of September and was found, severely damaged, on Oct. 8, 2021. The City of Niagara Falls just recently gained repossession of the sculpture. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo […]

granite platform

Niagara College conducting pioneering research into edible cannabis products

by Nicholas Tibollo

Food scientist Dr. Zhengtao Zhao (right) and research assistant Umar Sher work inside the labs at the CFWI Innovation Centre on method development for the determination of active cannabis compounds. Photo credit: Niagara College   Once again leading the way in real-world innovation in the food and beverage industry, Niagara College has launched an applied […]

Dr. Zhengtao Zhao

Policy and precedent take the politics out of filling vacant council seat

by The Niagara Independent

While the Niagara Region is often plagued with policies that have more loopholes than a fisherman’s knot, in the case of filling a vacant seat on Regional Council, the legislation and policy on the books is straightforward.    With the death of beloved St. Catharines Regional Councillor Sandie Bellows, regional and city officials will be […]

Niagara Region council chambers

Historic barn sets the scene for new culinary attraction in Niagara

by Sherri Haigh

The Grist Craft Kitchen and Brewery, located on Four Mile Creek Road in St. David’s.    It’s hard to know where to begin when you step through the doors of the newly opened Grist Craft Kitchen and Brewery. A historic barn originally owned by the Fedorkow Family as a farm packing shed in St. David’s, […]

The Grist Craft Kitchen

Search for new top doctor could soon be underway in Niagara

by Nicholas Tibollo

Mayor of Wainfleet Kevin Gibson (right) will table a motion Thursday night at regional council to initiate the search for a permanent medical officer of health. Dr. Mustafa Hirji (left) has served in an interim capacity at the head of Niagara Public Health since the retirement of Dr. Valerie Jaeger in January 2018.    After […]

Dr Hiriji and Mayor Gibson

Testing requirement to temper border reopening, local bridge authorities

by Nicholas Tibollo

The Peace Bridge connecting Fort Erie and Buffalo. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   In the year before the pandemic, nearly three-quarters of all visits to the U.S. from Canada, about 32 million trips in all, were made by vehicle. A large portion of that traffic traversed Niagara’s four international bridge crossings.  According to […]

Peace Bridge

IKEA’s new ‘Design Studio’ in Oshawa. St. Catharines will have its own Design Studio at the Pen Centre within the next few weeks. Photo credit: IKEA Canada   While many businesses have shut down over the past two years, St. Catharines will soon be welcoming an IKEA store back to the city.  On Wednesday, October […]

Ikea storefront

U.S. reopening land border to fully vaccinated Canadians, but questions remain

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: Toronto Star/Marcus Oleniuk   After nearly 20 months of its land ports of entry being closed off to all non-essential travel, the United States will once again allow Canadians to drive across the border for discretionary purposes.  Starting next month, fully vaccinated travellers from Canada and Mexico will be permitted to enter the […]

border

Niagara College announces new chair, vice-chair of governing board

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara College   Ahead of its October 2021 meeting on Thursday, Niagara College’s board of governors announced the election of its new chair and vice-chair, along with the appointment of four new members.  Wendy Wing will lead the school’s governing board as chair for the 2021-22 academic year, having served as vice-chair the […]

Niagara College, Welland campus

Temporary road test centre opening in Niagara Falls to help alleviate backlog

by The Niagara Independent

The provincial government is taking tangible steps to reduce the significant backlog of drivers trying to complete licencing requirements by opening additional road test locations.  On Wednesday, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announced it was opening three temporary test centres in Ottawa, Sarnia, and Niagara Falls. “Opening a temporary road test centre in Niagara Falls […]

driving test

Niagara mourns loss of leading citizen Sandie Bellows

by The Niagara Independent

Sandie Bellows (seated in center) cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of the Niagara Parks Power Station, July 28, 2021. Bellows died of cancer late Sunday evening. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   On Sunday, Oct. 10, Niagara lost one of its leading citizens in Sandie Bellows. Bellows, who at the time of […]

Sandie Bellowes

Members of the Ontario Health Coalition protest out front of Queen’s Park, Oct. 4, 2021. Photo credit: Facebook/Ontario Health Coalition   On Wednesday last week, the Ford government announced the allocation of $270 million this fiscal year to help Ontario’s long-term care (LTC) homes address staffing needs. The funds will allow for the hiring of […]

Ontario Health Collation outside of Queen's Park

Bronze statue stolen from cemetery holds high artistic value, worth little as scrap

by Nicholas Tibollo

The granite platform where the sculpture of Gen. Drummond by Ralph Sketch stood for at least three decades. The statue was stolen from Drummond Hill Cemetery last week. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent/Nicholas Tibollo   Sometime between the early morning hours of September 27 and the morning of September 29, a roughly three-by-three-foot, 330 lbs. […]

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital enters final stage of community fundraising

by The Niagara Independent

  An artist’s rendering of the new WLMH site in Grimsby. Photo credit: Hamilton Health Sciences   On Wednesday, the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) held a virtual launch for the final leg of its ‘Take it to the Finish, Building a Healthy Community’ campaign. The campaign, which began five months ago, was launched with […]

Brock continues to rank high in student satisfaction

by Nicholas Tibollo

Brock University main campus in St. Catharines. Photo credit: Brock University   Maclean’s Magazine released its annual university rankings for 2022 on Thursday. St. Catharines’ Brock University ranked 12 overall in the comprehensive category, placing high in several subcategories and rising one spot overall from 2021. For the fourth straight year, Brock earned the top […]

Local Indigenous leader calls Trudeau’s Tofino trip “appalling”

by Nicholas Tibollo

Karl Dockstader, executive director of the Niagara Regional Native Centre and co-host of the radio show ‘One Dish, One Mic’, emcees a National Day of Truth and Reconciliation event in front of St. Catharines city hall, Sept. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Twitter/City of St. Catharines   Last Thursday, Canada marked the first National Day of […]

Karl Dockstader

Lincoln celebrates grand opening of new museum with fun-filled weekend

by Nicholas Tibollo

New Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre in Jordan. Photo credit: Town of Lincoln   Unveiled and initially made accessible to the public at the end of July, the brand-new Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre had its formal grand opening this past weekend.  Three days of events ushered in the museum’s latest chapter, including a gala […]

lincoln museum

‘Exhaustive’ CAO search turns up familiar face

by Nicholas Tibollo

Ron Tripp has served as acting CAO of Niagara Region since December 2018. He will take up the chief administrator role in a permanent capacity starting Monday next week.    At a special council meeting on Wednesday, Niagara Regional Council formally appointed the municipality’s new permanent Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).  After a 10 month “exhaustive”, […]

Ron Trip

Young entrepreneurs wrapped in red tape

by Don Rickers

Owner of Archives Wine and Spirit Merchants Robbie Raskin offers a toast to a group of whiskey aficionados. Raskin and his partner have been forced to jump through hoop after hoop by the City of St. Catharines to bring their tasting business to fruition. Supplied photo.   Robbie Raskin and his friend and business partner […]

Robbie Raskin

Niagara joins elite collection of Canadian regions working to attract foreign dollars

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Parks    The Niagara Region has formally joined a select group of regions from across the country working together to attract foreign investment to Canada.  The Consider Canada City Alliance (CCCA) unites 14 of Canada’s largest municipal regions “to build a sustainable and globally competitive national economy built upon the collective strength […]

Niagara Falls in red

Province provides funding to help local anti-human trafficking efforts

by Nicholas Tibollo

From left to right: Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, Minister of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney, Executive Director of Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara France Vaillancourt, and Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues Jane McKenna, Sept. 27, 2021. Photo credit: Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara    On […]

Centre De Sante

Seven in a row for Niagara West’s Dean Allison

by Don Rickers

Newly re-elected Conservative MP for Niagara West Dean Allison. Photo credit: Facebook/Dean Allison   When the election dust settled in Niagara West early Tuesday morning, no one was surprised at the result. The pollsters, and the historical record, had pointed to a landslide win for Conservative Dean Allison, and that’s exactly what happened. Just over […]

Dean Allison MP

Officials on both sides of border react to continued closure of land crossings into U.S.

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: CNN Travel Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) once again extended the country’s nationwide ban on non-essential land travel from Canada and Mexico. “To minimize the spread of [COVID-19], including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with […]

U.S. border closed

Four familiar faces headed back to Ottawa for Niagara

by Nicholas Tibollo

Returning Conservative MPs from Niagara Falls and Niagara West Tony Baldinelli (left) and Dean Allison (right). Both incumbents, alongside returning Liberal MPs Chris Bittle and Vance Badawey, were successful in their bids for re-election Monday night.   In an election deemed largely unnecessary by a majority of the population, Niagara returned all four incumbent candidates […]

Baldinelli MP and Allison MP

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole closes out campaign in Niagara

by Nicholas Tibollo

O’Toole speaking at Steelcon in St. Catharines on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Photo credit: CPAC   With Canadians set to hit the polls Monday, Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole made one last campaign stop before the final weekend of the 2021 federal election in Niagara on Friday night. Speaking before a capacity crowd outside of […]

Erin O'Toole

With vote days away, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stops in Niagara

by Nicholas Tibollo

Left: NDP leader Jagmeet Singh poses for a photo with Niagara Falls federal NDP candidate Brian Barker and current Ontario NDP MPP for Niagara Falls Wayne Gates at a campaign stop in Welland on Wednesday. Right: Singh poses for a photo with St. Catharines federal NDP candidate Trecia McLennon at the same event. Photo credit: […]

Singh in niagara

Awards continue to pour in for Niagara College’s brewing program

by Nicholas Tibollo

 Niagara College Teaching Brewery head brewer George Eagleson with students Laura Park and Nigel Findlay. The school’s Bitter 101, Bock 101, and Strong Ale 101 all won gold medals at the recent U.S. Open Beer Championship held in Oxford, Ohio on Sept. 6. Photo credit: Niagara College    For the second consecutive year, Niagara College […]

niagara college brewing program students

Committee chair commits to “thorough investigation” into biosolids program

by The Niagara Independent

On Wednesday morning, Corporate Services Committee chair Rob Foster committed to conducting a “thorough investigation” into the issues recently raised by Niagara Falls regional councillor Bob Gale regarding the Region’s multi-million-dollar biosolids program. The move came after Gale revealed a 2016 provincial investigation concluded that an employee from Thomas Nutrient Solutions had fabricated environmental data […]

NIagara Region HQ

Hardly a Conservative adjunct, PPC drawing support from diversity of sources

by Nicholas Tibollo

People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier at a recent campaign stop. Photo credit: Twitter/Maxime Bernier   The latest federal public opinion polls have the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) capturing anywhere from 4 to 8 per cent of the popular vote. For a party that received a mere 1.6 per cent of all ballots […]

Maxime Bernier

Could the Conservatives sweep Niagara? Current modelling shows it’s possible

by The Niagara Independent

St. Catharines Conservative Party candidate Krystina Waler. According to the political prediction site 338Canada, Waler is one of four Conservative candidates in Niagara currently in the lead or tied for the lead in their respective riding.    According to the latest projections from the popular political forecasting website 338Canada, Conservative Party candidates currently lead or […]

Trudeau’s campaign stop in Welland marred by PPC protestors

by Nicholas Tibollo

Trudeau chats with local workers at Valbruna ASW in Welland, Sept. 6, 2021. Photo credit: CBC Radio Canada/Laurence Martin   Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and University-Rosedale candidate Chrystia Freeland were in Welland for a Labour Day campaign stop on Monday.  Speaking from the factory floor of Centre Street’s Valbruna ASW, Trudeau pledged that if […]

Creekside Kitchen and Grocery almost too good to share

by Sherri Haigh

One of Creekside’s delicious grilled-to-go offerings. Supplied photo.   Sometimes you want to keep something a secret, especially when it comes to dining. It’s a place so peaceful and relaxing that you don’t want it overrun with tourists.  Creekside Kitchen and Grocery in Jordan is one of those places and I’m being a bigger person […]

creekside food

Local candidate discusses recent rescue mission of Canada-bound allies by Ukraine

by Nicholas Tibollo

The daughter of one of the Afghan translators who helped Canada during the War in Afghanistan stands on the tarmac in Kyiv, Ukraine on Aug. 28, 2021. After several failed missions to bring the Canada-bound translators and their families to safety, Ukrainian special forces successfully escorted the group – 19 in all – on foot […]

little girl on tarmack

No-shows don’t dampen debate organizer’s spirits

by Nicholas Tibollo

True Politics host Steven Soos holds up a branded hat. Photo credit: Facebook/Steven Soos   Even though only three of the five registered candidates showed up, the first debate of the 2021 federal campaign for the riding of Niagara Falls was, according to its host and organizer, a successful event that represented another “big win […]

Steven Soos

Niagara sees significant dip in new business openings

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: Pexels/Artem Beliaikin   On Monday, Statistics Canada released its latest monthly report regarding business openings and closures across the country. According to the agency’s most recent estimate, Canada added 39,049 new businesses and reported 40,447 closures in May 2021, for a total monthly loss of 1,398 businesses nationwide. The latest figure represents the […]

closed sign

Biosolids are the “end product” of a sewage treatment plant that are transported to landfills or lagoons. The contractor the Region most recently selected to transport the product was under investigation by the province for alleged offences under multiple Acts while the tendering process was underway. At least some of regional staff were aware of […]

ron tripp

Affordability key issue in Niagara’s enflamed housing market

by Don Rickers

Photo credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch   Some explain it as a classic case of supply and demand. Property costs have risen dramatically over the past decade, despite government measures to increase the housing supply and reduce demand. But many economists and housing experts question whether recent proposals by the federal Liberals are sufficient to restore affordability […]

for sale sign

Grimsby manufacturer makes history with Royal Caribbean contract

by Nicholas Tibollo

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis of the Seas’. The theatre stage at the rear of the vessel is one of the many designed, built, and installed by local company Handling Specialty. Photo credit: Royal Caribbean   Last month, it was announced that Grimsby-based Handling Specialty was awarded its largest fixed price contract in company history.  The contract, […]

Screenshots of Niagara Falls and St. Catharines Liberal candidates Andrea Kaiser and Chris Bittle reposting a tweet by Chrystia Freeland that contained a surreptitiously doctored video Twitter flagged as “manipulated media”.    On Sunday, Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland tweeted out an edited campaign video that Twitter flagged as “manipulated media”.  The video featured a year-old […]

bittle freeland tweets

Is Niagara home to the garlic capital of Canada? It very well could be

by Don Rickers

Jerry Winnicki and a flatbed-full of his garlic crop. Photo used by permission from the Voice of Pelham.   Jerry Winnicki is a farmer, not a doctor, but he is happy to dispense free health advice—at least when it comes to the nutritional and medicinal power of the humble garlic. It was the ancient Greek […]

jerry winnicki

American tourists and cottagers return to Niagara’s south shore

by Don Rickers

Elco Beach, part of Sherkston Shores Beach Resort and Campground. Located at the border between Port Colborne and Fort Erie, Sherkston, like Crystal Beach and many other areas on Niagara’s south shore along Lake Erie, is a popular destination for vacationing Americans throughout the warmer months. Photo credit: Toronto Life Canadian border crossings reopened to […]

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Bill Steele of Port Colborne

by Kaitlin Gibson

Mayor Bill Steele (centre) with his wife and three sons. Photo credit: WordPress/Bill Steele  Even though Mayor Bill Steele of Port Colborne has had more than his fair share of talking about the pandemic, it’s still top of mind and in the forefront of everything he’s done over the past year and a half. “I’m […]

Mayor Bill Steele andfamily

  Krystina Waler (left) and Trecia McLennon (right). Waler and McLennon are the 2021 federal Conservative and NDP candidates for St. Catharines, respectively. While direct political competitors, both agree – along with several other local candidates – that Justin Trudeau’s recent decision to call a snap election was ill-considered. The pair will challenge incumbent Liberal […]

Waler and McLennon

Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition Erin O’Toole speaks to a small gathering in Welland, Aug. 10, 2021. Pictured in back is Niagara Centre federal Conservative candidate and current Welland city councillor Graham Speck. Photo credit: Facebook/Graham Speck   Earlier this week, Canada’s Leader of the Official Opposition and head of the federal Conservative Party Erin […]

Erin O'Toole MP and Graham Speck

 Strada West on Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls. Like so many restauranteurs in the region, Strada West proprietor Tom Roberto has had difficulty securing staff because of the pandemic and associated government measures. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   Ontario’s Minister for Labour, Training, and Skills Development Monte McNaughton was in Niagara last week to […]

strada west restaurant

Photo credit: AP/John Locher   On Thursday, just as news broke that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will ask the governor general to dissolve parliament this weekend, Liberal Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti announced from Niagara’s Fallsview Casino Resort changes to the Criminal Code which will legalize single event sport betting. […]

sports bar

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Walter Sendzik of St. Catharines

by Kaitlin Gibson

Mayor Walter Sendzik. Supplied photo.    St. Catharines is the Niagara’s largest city with a population of nearly 140,530. As such, it makes sense that one of the main goals of Mayor Walter Sendzik is to increase its sense of community and inclusion.  “We are a progressive community…we look at compassion as a way of […]

Mayor Sendzik

A local woman’s campaign to save Canada’s Afghan allies

by Kaitlin Gibson

Major Richard Raymond (right) from the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT) speaks, with the help of his interpreter, to Afghan kids about their situation in Kandahar city, April 2008. Photo credit: Canadian Forces Combat Camera/Cpl. Simon Duchesne Wendy Long wasn’t looking for a project to get involved with or a cause to support. But five years […]

Major Richard Raymond

Hirji raises eyebrows with decision to delay second dose

by Nicholas Tibollo

  Screenshot of Dr. Hirji’s August 6 tweet regarding his second vaccine dose. Photo credit: Twitter/Mustafa Hirji On Friday, Niagara’s acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji posted to Twitter that he went to a mobile pop-up clinic to receive his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.  “Thrilled to join @NRPublicHealth teammates at the Rykert […]

Hirijii tweet

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Dave Bylsma of West Lincoln

by Kaitlin Gibson

Mayor Dave Bylsma. Photo credit: Facebook/Dave Bylsma Getting life back to normal is a matter of utmost importance for West Lincoln mayor David Bylsma. When it comes to getting life back to normal post pandemic, he is a firm believer that the best way to do so is to get businesses and the economy open […]

Mayor Bylsma

Province invests millions to help Niagara youth enter IT sector

by Nicholas Tibollo

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton (fifth from left) in Vineland with some of the beneficiaries of the provincial funding announced Thursday. Photo credit: Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development On Thursday, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton joined Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff and Lincoln mayor […]

Case against former executives of Pelham pot grower pushed to late September

by Don Rickers

Former Pelham mayor Dave Augustyn (centre, black shirt) with CannTrust executives at the official opening of the cannabis producer’s Fenwick facility, June 2018. Three of the company’s former executives are currently facing a litany of charges related to alleged illegal growing efforts in 2018 and 2019. Photo credit: (c) 2018 The Voice of Pelham. Used […]

augustyn ribbon cutting

Bradley blasted by fellow councillors for hosting exclusionary “private meeting”

by Nicholas Tibollo

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley. Photo credit: YouTube/Niagara Region At the most recent Niagara Regional Council meeting, Chair Jim Bradley and his senior staff were upbraided by several council members for hosting what Pelham regional representative Diana Huson called a “private meeting” that excluded most regional councillors and went forward without public notice.  According to […]

Jim bradley

Crime rates dip across country, as Niagara remains one of Canada’s safest metro areas

by The Niagara Independent

Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara Regional Police Service Last week, Statistics Canada published its annual survey of police-reported crime, as measured by the Crime Severity Index (CSI), for the year 2020. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on crime rates across the country, ushering in the first year of decreases in both violent and non-violent […]

nrps vehicle

In their own words: Mayor Frank Campion of Welland

by Kaitlin Gibson

Mayor Frank Campion. Photo credit: Niagara Region Mayor Campion has a clear message for the residents of Welland: get vaccinated. The second term mayor emphasizes the need for Welland residents to protect themselves against COVID-19, noting that locally the town has hit a plateau in the rate of vaccinations. “The biggest thing we can do […]

mayor campion's headshot

Revamped Niagara Parks Power Station opens to the public

by Nicholas Tibollo

Niagara Parks CEO David Adames welcomes guests to tour the agency’s newest attraction following the ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Wednesday. Also pictured are chair of the Parks Sandie Bellows (seated, centre), Minister Lisa MacLeod (behind Bellows, left), and Regional Chair Jim Bradley (behind Bellows, right). Photo credit: The Niagara Independent After several months of assessment, planning, […]

CEO NPC Adames welcomes guests

Mountainview’s Mark Basciano “an everyday hero”

by Don Rickers

Mountainview president Mark Basciano.  Talk to director of philanthropy and public relations at Pathstone Mental Health Kim Rossi about Mountainview president Mark Basciano the builder and she can speak volumes, without ever mentioning his successes in the construction industry. She references Mark Basciano the community builder, the man who learned from his father that creating […]

Mark Basciano

Regional council supports another tax increase for services beyond mandate

by Bruce Timms

Niagara Region headquarters in Thorold. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent On July 14, the corporate services committee discussed and recommended adding another $1 million to the property tax levy, an additional 0.25 per cent to the previously established 4.1 per cent increase: for a total increase of 4.35 per cent for the 2022 tax levy.  […]

niagara region HQ sign

Niagara wines wow at national championships

by The Niagara Independent

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery in St. Davids. Ravine was one of about a dozen Niagara wineries to earn multiple medals at this year’s All Canadian Wine Championships. Photo credit: Facebook/Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery Two weeks ago, the All Canadian Wine Championships held its annual competition in Picton, Ontario. The 2021 installment saw 217 wineries from […]

Ravine Winery

Democratic representative for New York’s 26th congressional district Brian Higgins speaks at the University of Buffalo, March 29, 2018. Congressman Higgins has arguably been the loudest and most consistent advocate for reopening the U.S.-Canada border both ways throughout the pandemic. Photo credit: University of Buffalo/Meredith Forrest Kulwicki Last week, just days after Canada announced it […]

Brian Higgins

Date set for twinning of Garden City Skyway

by Nicholas Tibollo

Garden City Skyway. The bridge connects Niagara-on-the-Lake to St. Catharines. Built in 1963, it will soon be one of two bridges to carry QEW traffic across the Welland Canal. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent  With work well-underway along the QEW in Niagara-on-the-Lake transforming the Glendale Avenue exit/intersection into Canada’s only third ever diverging diamond interchange, […]

skyway bridge in st catharines

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Jim Diodati of Niagara Falls

by Kaitlin Gibson

Mayor Jim Diodati. Photo credit: City of Niagara Falls After speaking to Mayor Jim Diodati at length, it’s very clear that he fully believes in the saying, ‘every cloud has a silver lining.’ More often than not, answers to questions about the economy, COVID-19, or the future of the city were sparkled with moral takeaways […]

Mayor Jim Diodati

South Niagara Hospital site at the corner of Montrose and Biggar roads in Niagara Falls. What was for many years just a sign and an unused farmer’s field will soon see shovels in the ground, as the more than $1 billion project is set to commence fall 2022. Photo credit: Niagara Health On July 21, […]

south niagara hospital site

Homelessness on the rise in Niagara, long-term solution needed

by Don Rickers

A homeless encampment in Centennial Gardens off Gale Crescent in St. Catharines. Photo credit: Julia McLaren  Homelessness is an urgent problem in Niagara.  A study conducted by the Region in March provided a snapshot of the dire situation. The third annual Niagara Counts homelessness Point-in-Time (PiT) determined there are at least 665 people (including 121 […]

tent encampment

Vehicles cross the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls from the U.S. into Canada. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons  On Monday, the federal government announced its plan to reopen Canada’s international border. Starting August 9, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents currently living in the U.S. will be able to travel to Canada for non-essential purposes […]

Rainbow Bridge

Local museums excited to welcome back patrons

by Nicholas Tibollo

On Friday, July 16, Ontario entered the final phase of its three-step reopening framework.

Expectedly, most are excited about once again being able to dine indoors, hit the gym, or attend a summer festival. But another activity now available to Ontarians that has somewhat flown under the radar, but is an integral part of Niagara’s tourism and culture industries, is visiting a museum or historic site.

Niagara-on-the-Lake museum

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Marvin Junkin of Pelham

by Kaitlin Gibson

“It was everything I thought it was.”
A phrase that has been used to describe countless life events like weddings, but rarely used in the world of politics. But Pelham’s mayor Marvin Junkin thinks it describes his first two and a half years in office quite well.

Mayor Junkin

Province gives DSBN green light to go forward with new $50 million Beamsville high school

by The Niagara Independent

On Thursday, Ontario’s Minister of Education Stephen Lecce joined his Parliamentary Assistant and MPP for Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff in Lincoln to announce that the provincial government has given the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) approval to award the tender for the new West Niagara Secondary School in Beamsville.

politicians and students in beamsville

Just who is Dr. Hirji? The local public health official pulling all the strings

by Nicholas Tibollo

Niagara Region’s current acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji (bottom left) in a campus newspaper montage of student union presidential candidates at the University of Alberta, March 2005. Photo credit: University of Alberta Libraries/The Gateway Back in February, when Niagara qualified to move out of ‘Grey – Lockdown’ into the less restrictive ‘Red […]

Conservative MP for Niagara Falls Tony Baldinelli (left) meets with Del Rollo, Secretary of Wine Growers Canada and VP of Industry and Government Relations of Arterra Wines, at Jackson-Triggs Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, October 2020. Photo credit: Facebook/Tony Baldinelli On July 7, Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and […]

MP Baldinelli at Jaackson Triggs

Niagara hotels look to post-pandemic recovery

by Don Rickers

An online survey of 22 Canadian hotel executives, representing 127 hotels and over 20,000 hotel rooms across Canada, was conducted by Nanos Research in May and June of 2021. The survey was conducted in an effort to capture the pulse of the Canadian hotel industry during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

holiday inn

Province provides Grimsby $16 million to support community infrastructure project

by Nicholas Tibollo

Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma joined Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff in Grimsby on Thursday to announce $16 million in provincial funding to expand and renovate the town’s Peach King Centre.

peach king centre

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Sandra Easton of Lincoln

by Kaitlin Gibson

Lincoln mayor Sandra Easton says that the dominant theme of the first two and a half years of her term has been, obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic. “You can’t think of anything except that.” The mayor of nearly 24,000 residents has been taken back by the scale of the pandemic and calls it her biggest challenge in office to date.

Mayor Sandra Easton

On Monday, July 5, the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, in collaboration with local political and business leaders, held a press conference at the Niagara City Cruises lower landing on the Canadian side of the gorge in Niagara Falls.

mayor jim diotdati

The idea of modernizing Niagara Regional Council to have representatives serve as both upper and lower-tier councillors has been around for some time. The latest effort came from the City of Niagara Falls.

niagara region HQ sign

Niagara’s shortage of hospitality workers hinders pandemic recovery

by Don Rickers

Niagara’s economy is more reliant on the tourism and hospitality industry than probably any other region in Ontario, with an estimated 60,000 jobs pre-pandemic. And no industry has been harder hit.

Cliffton Hill from above

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Terry Ugulini of Thorold

by Kaitlin Gibson

According to Mayor Terry Ugulini, the new GTA is right here is in Niagara: the ‘Greater Thorold Area’.
Thanks to an influx of growth spurred on by Torontonians finding refuge from their fast-paced lives in Thorold’s quieter setting, the city’s mayor is outwardly confident about Thorold’s future prospects.

Mayor Terry Ugulini on a chair with his dog

At Monday evening’s regular council meeting, St. Catharines council announced that, as a municipality, it would not commemorate the 154th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

Councillor Miller and Mayor Sendzik

Education funding in Ontario unfair and in need of reform

by Don Rickers

Trustees of the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) and Niagara Catholic District School Board (NCDSB) just rolled out their 2021-22 budgets: $523 million and $268 million respectively, which will serve a total of approximately 60,000 students, at an average cost to the taxpayer of just under $13,000 per enrollee.

aerial shot of buildings

Housing board hands authority over to Regional Council

by Bruce Timms

Regional Council has become the sole voting member of Niagara Regional Housing (NRH), the not-for-profit agency responsible for providing low-income social housing to Niagara residents in-need.

apartment building

Minister of tourism and task force chair release pandemic recovery report

by Nicholas Tibollo

On Wednesday, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod was on hand at the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake to release a report put together by the Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force.

Minister MacLeod

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Wayne Redekop of Fort Erie

by Kaitlin Gibson

From revitalizing parks to restructuring the public transit system, it can be said that the Town of Fort Erie has a lot on the go. And that’s in part due to the town’s eager and ambitious mayor, Wayne Redekop. Over the past two and a half years he’s even created a website, called ‘Let’s Talk Fort Erie’, where residents can look up projects on the go. Some of his projects include investing in infrastructure, maintaining and protecting the town’s historical landmarks, and bringing new doctors into Fort Erie.

Mayor Redekop

Welland by-election attracts sizable slate of candidates

by Don Rickers

The Rose City is abloom in political aspirants.

Welland’s Ward 3 by-election has attracted a total of six candidates, all eager to fill the seat left vacant by Lucas Spinosa. Spinosa resigned in February, citing a pattern of harassment and threats against him. Nancy Dmytrow-Bilboe, Phill Gladman, John Mastroianni, Steven Soos, Douglas Thomas, and Cathy Connor have all filed nomination papers in the hopes of joining Welland city council come August.

Region accepts 4.1 per cent tax hike strategy, despite massive surplus

by Bruce Timms

The most significant Niagara Region budget meeting of the year was held by Zoom Thursday, June 17.

The meeting set the strategy for staff to use while working out the details of a budget for consideration in October.

Niagara Region HQ sign

Hirji wrestled with Niagara’s restaurants prior to pandemic

by Nicholas Tibollo

Despite Ontario entering Step 1 of its phased reopening plan on June 11, Niagara’s Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji continues to impose pandemic-related restrictions over and above provincial regulations.

Dr Hiriji

The small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has a reputation that proceeds itself for being subtle and reserved. But there are no reservations on the part of Lord Mayor Betty Disero when it comes to the admiration she has for her constituents.

Disero headshot

A recent Toronto Star headline broadcasted, “Awash in vaccines, Canada plans to share with other countries.” But COVID-19 vaccine supplies in Niagara have not kept pace with the demand, as many thousands of Niagara residents have been shut out from online registration for second doses. As the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads rapidly throughout Ontario, border-city mayors are lobbying hard for creative solutions to get their communities vaccinated, including accessing surplus American vaccine doses which are currently filling New York and Michigan dumpsters.

diodati and redekop headshots

When Ontario entered Step One reopening on Friday, Niagara residents were delighted at the opportunity to return to restaurant patios. However, while those in other regions, including Hamilton and Toronto, were allowed to dine on patios with any four people, Niagara patio tables remained restricted to those of the same household.

niagara falls hotel-patio

Niagara names new top planner

by Nicholas Tibollo

With efforts to update Niagara’s Official Plan well underway, the Region has secured a new head of planning and development.

Michelle Sergi’s appointment was approved at a special council meeting on Thursday, June 10. It follows a thorough, nation-wide, recruitment process undertaken by an independent staffing agency.

Michelle Sergi headshot

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Kevin Gibson of Wainfleet

by Kaitlin Gibson

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Kevin Gibson of Wainfleet has faith that his community will prevail.

“We’re resilient people. We’re used to hardship.”

Mayor Gibson

Local MPs weigh in on border reopening, vaccine passports

by Don Rickers

The Canada-U.S. border’s land crossings were closed in March of 2020 to nonessential travel in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and have remained closed ever since – but that may be changing soon.

MP Tony Baldinelli and MP Dean Allison

Quick guide to Canada Summer Games satellite venues around the region

by Michael H. Willoughby

In just over a year, Niagara welcomes the nation for the 2022 Canada Summer Games. Over 5,000 young athletes from all 13 provinces and territories will converge in several towns and cities around the region to compete.

rendering of rowing facility

New York Congressman Chris Jacobs (right) with separated families at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge in Niagara Falls, June 6, 2021. Jacobs recently added his name to a growing list of high-profile public officials actively campaigning to see the Canada-U.S. land border reopen. Photo credit: Twitter/Chris Jacobs On Sunday, June 6, U.S. Congressman Chris Jacobs held a […]

Congressman Chris Jacobs

It’s hiring season for Niagara’s municipal CAOs

by Don Rickers

Elected municipal politicians have one employee to hire and fire: the chief administrative officer (CAO). It’s an important chair to fill, since all municipal employees report to the CAO, who is charged with making important decisions about hiring employees, planning budgets, and managing operations. The CAO is also the primary member of municipal staff to interact with the elected council, and to implement its policies. Undoubtedly the CAO’s greatest responsibility is in the preparation and submission of the annual budget and, following council approval, the administering of that financial plan on behalf of the municipality.

David Oakes and Jason Burgess

In their own words: an interview with Mayor Jeff Jordan of Grimsby

by Kaitlin Gibson

More than halfway through his first term as mayor of Grimsby, Jeff Jordan maintains an upbeat attitude, looking back on what has been an undoubtably challenging term.

“It’s certainly been overall a very positive experience. I really feel that I’ve been able to, along with Council, do something for all of Grimsby, and move Grimsby forward.”

Mayor Jordan and company

Niagara lawyer appointed Ontario Superior Court judge

by Michael H. Willoughby

A Niagara lawyer has been appointed to the province’s Superior Court of Justice.
In a press release, Federal Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti announced Wednesday the appointment of Leanne Standryk.

Leanne Standryk

In the past year, the agenda package for regular Niagara Regional Council meetings have contained, on average, 950 pages of content. And that’s just for regular council meetings. Factor in special council sessions, committee material, and other council correspondence, and Niagara’s upper-tier elected officials are having to absorb well over 1,000 pages of complex, technical information per month.

niagara region HQ sign

Don’t expect tax breaks from Niagara Region’s $96 million surplus

by Don Rickers

Niagara’s 2020 consolidated financial statements, independently audited by the financial mavens at Deloitte, were recently approved by the Region’s audit committee. A cursory reading of the report might lead one to believe that the coffers are flush, given a reported $96 million in surpluses.

Niagara Region HQ sign

On May 18, Brock University in St. Catharines announced that its president, Gervan Fearon, would be resigning his post, having accepted an offer to become president of George Brown College in Toronto. On the face of it, it’s an unusual career move for a top administrator working in the status-obsessed world of academia: Brock is a large public research university, while George Brown is a college that caters mostly to continuing-education students pursuing vocational programs.

Sir Isaac Brock statue

Niagara COVID-19 update – the downward trend continues

by The Niagara Independent

On Monday, Niagara Region Public Health reported just 33 new active cases of COVID-19 across the region. This was the lowest single day number of new cases since March 25, when just 24 new cases were reported.

Niagara is down to 992 total active cases, the lowest number since April 12 (946 cases).

covid dashboard

The life and legacy of local historian E.A. Cruikshank

by Nicholas Tibollo

On May 21, 1921, exactly 100 years ago last Friday, no less than nine historic sites from Niagara were officially added to the National Historic Sites of Canada (NHSC) registry. Among the additions were Fort George, Navy Island, and the Ridgeway Battlefield.

Ernest Alexander ‘E.A.’ Cruikshank

Mike Thorne ruminated on the expression “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” and figured that there might also be treasure in simply moving the junk.

Mike Throne in front of a blue van

At its most recent meeting on May 12, Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee endorsed a staff recommendation to establish a region-wide ‘Natural Environmental System’.

The system, if approved by council on May 20, could become part of the Region’s Official Plan next year.

neighbourhood

Is illegal dumping on the rise in Niagara?

by Nicholas Tibollo

Last week, The Niagara Independent published a piece arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic is, in all likelihood, more responsible for the perceived change in local waste disposal habits than the Region’s relatively recent shift to every-other-week garbage collection.

dumpster overflowing

Brock’s fiscal position solid

by Don Rickers

Laurentian University in Sudbury saw its tuition revenue grow by 74 per cent in the last decade.

Good news, right?

Sir Issac Brock statue

Provinces continue to badger federal government to tighten international borders

by The Niagara Independent

Provincial governments of every political stripe continue to detect COVID-19 variants arriving in their provinces via loopholes in the federal screening and quarantining systems at their airports and land borders. On multiple occasions the premiers have asked the prime minister to clamp down on these loopholes.

man in mask at the bridge

Earlier this week, Niagara Region’s Public Works Committee received an impact analysis report regarding the effectiveness of last year’s shift to every-other-week curbside waste collection.

woman holding a bag

Niagara recently achieved an impressive milestone in its ongoing battle against COVID-19: 200,000 vaccine doses delivered.

A total of 40 per cent of the region’s residents are now at least partially vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, with 2.7 fully vaccinated.

Dr. Hirji , Premier Ford

Is Niagara set to surpass the half million mark?

by Nicholas Tibollo

With May 11 officially dubbed Census Day 2021, most Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast have completed or are in the process of completing the latest federal enumeration of the country’s population.

downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake

Schumer comes to Niagara Falls to push border reopening plan

by The Niagara Independent

Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, the newly installed Senate Majority Leader and highest-ranking federal politician in the State of New York, held a press conference at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, New York on Wednesday.

Senator Chuck Schumer

Falls to be illuminated red in honour of fallen firefighters

by Nicholas Tibollo

On Tuesday, Niagara’s famous Falls and Toronto’s CN Tower will be illuminated red in honour of all the firefighters worldwide who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Both the Canadian Horseshoe and American Falls will resemble the red of fire-engines and fire-houses the world over from 10:00pm to 10:15pm.

Niagara Falls in red

Buffalo begs for Biden to give Canada more vaccine

by The Niagara Independent

Former President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed accelerated not just the development of vaccines by companies like Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson, it also assured that when ready the U.S. would be able to acquire vaccine in huge amounts at a rapid pace.

vials of Moderna vaccine

Regional councillors not happy with continued leaks, establish task force

by The Niagara Independent

Last week, Niagara’s Regional Council once again had to discuss the ongoing issue of confidential information being leaked to local media.

As per corporate policy and proper governance, organizations must go in-camera to discuss certain matters like personnel issues or real estate business, among others. Leaks from such closed sessions were a big problem for regional council last term and have continued into this term.

Niagara Region

Properly locked down borders today will help Niagara open up for good tomorrow

by The Niagara Independent

After immense pressure put on by the provincial premiers, on April 22 the federal government finally announced a ban on direct commercial and private flights from India and Pakistan. The federal government belatedly moved on the ban after dozens of cases of B.1.617, the dominant strain of COVID-19 in India, showed up in B.C., Quebec, and Alberta.

empty airport terminal

MP Dean Allison sponsors local social advocate’s petition on mental health

by Don Rickers

Niagara West MP Dean Allison (left), July 2018. Photo credit: Facebook/Dean Allison “Mental health is a human issue, not a [political] party one. It touches the lives of Canadians and Niagara residents from all walks of life.” With this statement as a guiding principle, Welland-based social advocate Steven Soos has crafted a petition calling on […]

Dean Allison MP

Regional chair calls for more subsidies to support media

by Catherine Swift

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley. Photo credit: YouTube/Niagara Region An odd statement came from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley last week, as he called for the federal government to do even more to protect the news media sector than it is already doing. Bradley claimed that as the industry continues to struggle, and many local […]

Overwhelmed Niagara Health continues to take in patients from outside region

by The Niagara Independent

Despite last Monday issuing a press release and a widely circulated social media warning about the St. Catharines critical care units being over capacity, as late as Friday St. Catharines hospital was still accepting COVID-19 patients from other overwhelmed regions.

st catharines ospital

Family’s plea to premier goes viral, as calls to reopen golf courses grow

by Nicholas Tibollo

Last week, the Ford government put forward several new restrictions and regulations in its most recent effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Ontario. While some of the more draconian elements of the preventative order were quickly walked back following widespread backlash, most of the new measures made it past public outcry: including the closure of golf courses.

golfers

Case rates continue to rise in Niagara, plus another anti-lockdown rally

by The Niagara Independent

Photo credit: The Niagara Independent The week of April 13 to 19 saw a total of 1,176 new cases of COVID-19 in the region, an average of 168 per day for the week, compared to an average of 116 new cases per day last week. Monday, April 19 saw an active daily total case count […]

computer screen with covid dashoboard

Opioid crisis “out of control” in Niagara

by Don Rickers

Glen Walker isn’t apologetic about sounding the clarion call.

As executive director of Positive Living Niagara, Walker is responsible for staff and volunteers who provide support, education, and advocacy for individuals affected by a number of blood-borne infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C. The organization’s deep involvement with AIDS-related drug users has spilled over to opioid addiction and overdose, which is currently at a critical juncture in Niagara.

spoon and lighter

United Way Niagara helped over quarter of region’s population in 2020

by Nicholas Tibollo

Like much of Canada, Niagara has hardly escaped the socioeconomic havoc wreaked by the ongoing health crisis.

Unemployment rates, food insecurity, and social isolation have all reached record highs over the past year. Niagara’s typically robust tourism, culture and hospitality industries have been particularly hard hit. As Ontario’s minister responsible for tourism Lisa MacLeod commented during a visit to Niagara Falls last month, the city has lost some 40,000 tourism-related jobs due to the pandemic.

volunteer carrying a box

Liberal leader speaks to Niagara chamber

by Catherine Swift

This week the leader of Ontario’s Liberal Party made a presentation – virtually, of course – to the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) about his plans to govern the province, should he become premier in the next election expected to take place mid-2022.

Delduca MPP

Local pandemic update, plus St. Catharines council reacts to rally

by The Niagara Independent

Somewhat expectedly, the Easter long weekend proved to be a Covid-19 breeding ground in Niagara. April 6 to 12 saw a total of 813 new cases of the virus in the region, an average of 116 per day for the week. Monday, April 12 saw an active daily case count of 1,062. This represents the […]

computer with Covid -19dashboard

Niagara posts stellar showing in latest ‘best communities’ ranking

by Nicholas Tibollo

The Niagara Region faired particularly well in Maclean’s most recent iteration of its ‘Canada’s best communities’ list. Six of Niagara’s 12 municipalities cracked the top 100, with Welland and Niagara Falls leading the pack.

cyclist

Should the Canada-U.S. border be reopened to those with proof of vaccination?

by Nicholas Tibollo

In a recent opinion piece for the Globe and Mail, Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Edward Alden argued that it’s high-time Canada’s prime minister work with his American counterparts to examine options for reopening the world’s longest land border.

rainbow bridge

Niagara teachers and school staff moved up in vaccination queue

by Nicholas Tibollo

Starting April 9, education workers and support staff at Niagara’s public and Catholic school boards will be able to register for the Covid-19 vaccine. Full-time, part-time, and casual teachers, administrators, library technicians, custodial staff, school bus drivers, and crossing guards are all eligible to receive the vaccination. Come Friday, some 4,000 personnel employed by the […]

vaccination

Niagara Covid Update

by The Niagara Independent

The Easter weekend was not good to Niagara when it comes to new covid-19 cases.

As of yesterday, Monday April 5th, there are now 858 active cases of people with covid-19. This is the highest number of current active cases since January 16th when there was a 2020 high of 1,168. Active cases declined from that point to a low of 123 on February 25th. They have gone up virtually every day since then. The month of April has seen an average of 100 new cases per day.

reading on the train

Updated plans for West Niagara hospital sent for final approval

by Nicholas Tibollo

After nearly a quarter-century of tilting at politico-economic giants, last week residents of West Niagara finally laid eyes on renderings of what their long-promised, oft-deferred hospital redevelopment may well look like.

The exact building design will naturally evolve as the project continues to progress, but given site constraints and the comprehensive specifications outlined in the tender package, it’s all but certain the new development will look something like the above (and below) depicted.

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital rendering

The pandemic’s affect on the mental health of Niagara’s youth

by Don Rickers

A week ago, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole issued a motion in Parliament, calling on the Trudeau Liberals to present a clear, data-driven plan to support a gradual, safe, and permanent lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. In a press release, he stated “Canadians need a plan for hope…a plan that shows there are better days ahead for our country.”

Former generating station to start new life as tourist attraction

by Nicholas Tibollo

Twelve years after acquiring the decommissioned Canadian Niagara Power generating station, Niagara Parks is set to reopen the plant’s doors as the region’s newest tourist attraction this Canada Day.

power station

Premier Ford comes to Niagara with support for tourism

by The Niagara Independent

On the heels of releasing the 2021 provincial budget last week at Queen’s Park, Premier Doug Ford along with Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy and Tourism Minister Lisa MacLeod provided new details around support for the tourism industry in Niagara.

Premier Ford walking through vaccine clinic

Region urges province to move teachers up the vaccination priority list

by The Niagara Independent

Who gets vaccinated next was a unifying topic at Niagara Regional Council last night.

During discussion of the Public Health Committee minutes, St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik asked chief medical officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji if personal caregivers of the elderly could get moved up the vaccination priority list.

a teacher cleaning desks in a classroom

$100k+ Club: City Hall top dogs steal the show

by The Niagara Independent

Despite 2020 being an extremely difficult year for most in Niagara, local chief administrative officers (CAOs) across Niagara appeared to be exempt from any financial distress.
Particularly, Fort Erie and Port Colborne CAOs Tom Kuchyt and Scott Luey who both saw large double digit increases to their compensation last year versus 2019.

St. Catharines City Hall

Niagara’s $100K+ club grows during pandemic

by The Niagara Independent

Normally, March is that time of year where the residents of Niagara come together to see which local public servants had made it into the prestigious Ontario Sunshine List: The $100k+ club.

niagara region

Despite rhetoric, affordable housing apparently low priority for St. Catharines

by Nicholas Tibollo

  Single-loaded building example off QEW at Casablanca in Grimsby Outside of the ongoing pandemic, the single biggest socioeconomic issue facing a majority of communities across Ontario is the high cost of housing. Costs have been increasing dramatically for several years now, driven by low interest-rates, speculation, exponentially increasing government-imposed costs, and, most importantly, an […]

apartment building

Ford Government steps up to combat human trafficking in Niagara

by The Niagara Independent

The Ford government is taking major steps towards eliminating human trafficking in Niagara and Ontario while investing in support programs to help victims heal from the heinous crime.
Last week, $1.4 million was announced over the next five years to create a new community-based program to provide more young victims and survivors of human trafficking in Niagara with access to the supports they need.

human trafficking

Developer suing Niagara-on-the-Lake over bylaw

by John Chick

Court documents that are part of a $500,000 lawsuit against the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake allege that the community’s mayor and council enacted its Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) mainly to penalize one specific developer.

Hummel Properties buidling

Local clinics set to open as vaccine rollout ramps up

by Nicholas Tibollo

The final stage of Phase One of the provincial government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan allows newly eligible residents to schedule immunization sessions online via a centralized booking portal.

As of Monday, March 15, Ontarians aged 80 years or older, staff, caregivers and residents of retirement homes, high-priority health care workers, adult recipients of chronic home care, and all Indigenous adults non-yet vaccinated are qualified to book an appointment.

covid 19 injection

Mayors send joint letter to Niagara on one-year anniversary of Covid Pandemic

by The Niagara Independent

Niagara’s 12 mayors joined together to pen an open-letter to all Niagara citizens to mark the one-year anniversary of the first case of Covid-19 in Niagara. The letter comes at a time when societies around the globe are starting to feel very good about the slowing of the devastation of the pandemic because of more effective treatments but especially due to the dissemination of vaccines worldwide.

covid19

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