Judge rules on NPCA board makeup, Chair wants board to become permanent

A judge has ruled the Niagara Region is entitled to 27 Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board members, but there could be more trouble.

Director with A Better Niagara Liz Benneian says a judge made the decision at a Welland courthouse yesterday, but the region doesn't have to appoint all 27 members they are allowed.

"The reason we went to court was because we wanted negotiations to take place in good faith, and that means everyone needs to know what they are entitled to, and then they can figure out what would be practical."

Hamilton had been insisting Niagara was only entitled to 5 representatives.

"That certainly wasn't going to work when our entire population, and our entire landmass, and the majority of the money that goes to fund the Conservation Authority comes from the Niagara Region," Benneian adds.

Meanwhile the Chair of the NPCA, Dave Bylsma, has also indicated he wants to temporary board to become permanent.

"Chair Bylsma said you know, 'We've earned the people's trust!'" Benneian says. "Well nothing is going to destroy trust quicker than to have agreed to come in as an interim board and then say 'to Hell with that we're just going to stick around forever.'"

She goes to to note, "No doubt they've cleaned up old messes, but that is what they were supposed to do. That's what they were brought in there to do - that was their job. So that's great that they did their job, but they also went into that job knowing that they were supposed to be an interim board that was supposed to be there for three months."

The temporary board has already had an extension.