Mr. Wayne Gates: "I want to talk quickly about the environment in Niagara and a piece that needs to be removed from this bill immediately. Anyone from Niagara remembers the controversy our region had with the last board of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, so I won’t rehash that here. What is clear, though, is that the people of Niagara wanted changes to the governance of that board, and they worked very hard to make sure those changes happened. What we now have is a citizen-led board that is mostly comprised of citizen appointees who make sure that everything that happens there is transparent and accountable. Above all, they make sure that the decisions of the board best protect our local environment and natural heritage, not big developers. Of course, in the Ford administration, we’ve seen the Premier try to open up our protected greenbelt to develop it more than once.
So I’m going to finish—I won’t be able to get through it all. But I’m certainly going to finish by saying we must protect the NPCA. We must leave all the citizens who are on that board today and not get rid of them and give it back to the government. It makes absolutely no sense. Nothing is more important, outside of getting rid of COVID-19, quite frankly, than protecting our environment for our kids and our grandkids."