Following is a letter from Preserve Our Parks to Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan:
Dear Minister Chan:
Thank you for your response to our letter regarding the reinstatement of Fay Booker as General Manager of The Niagara Parks Commission. However, it was most disconcerting to us, when you wrote “the commission will continue to move…with an emphasis on business development.”
Mr. Minister, that is precisely how the NPC got into trouble in the first place, when Premier Mike Harris opened the flood gates to make business and competition a first priority. It was that mentality that uses “stunts”as a tourist attraction for an already famous worldwide tourist attraction. Need we remind you the NPC’s original mandate was to preserve and maintain the natural beauty of the Parks for the free enjoyment of all visitors.
Fay Booker understood that as custodians of the Parks, the NPC must use business development as a means to an end to maintain, restore and preserve the Parks while remaining fiscally independent. Putting the Parks concern second leads the way for abuse and corruption.
Preserve Our Parks has been monitoring the situation, and we are conveying to you, as of late, we are already seeing a definite lack of transparency.
Reports at the open meetings are sparse (e.g. Finance Committee, expenses etc.), the website is not up to date on a regular basis, (and) most importantly, the forensic audit was completed in November, 2011 and we have yet to hear any results or report. Moreover, what has happened to the OPP investigation?
Mr. Minister where is the transparency and accountability? Over these past few months, we have received numerous reports from nervous employees of the NPC complaining that the working conditions are already showing signs of regression to the “old ways.”
Mr. Minister, with all due respect, you need to take heed. Over all these years, Preserve Our Parks has never steered you wrong. We have always been on the right side of history. We are telling you now, the Niagara Parks Commission needs stronger leadership with unquestionable integrity. After all, these are our Parks and it is our money, and we have a right to transparency and accountability. Thank you so much for the attention you have given us in the past.
Patricia Salci Mangoff
Preserve Our Parks
Niagara Falls, Ontario