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LETTER: MPP calls for transparency with fairgrounds

Niagara Centre MPP asks for intervention from minister of agriculture
Niagara Regional Fairgrounds in Welland may be for sale.

ThoroldToday received the following letter from Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch to Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, concerning the future of the Niagara fairgrounds by the Niagara Regional Agricultural Society.

Dear Minister Thompson:

As the MPP for Niagara Centre, I am raising concerns that are out in the community right now regarding the future of the Niagara Regional Agricultural Society and the potential sale of its fairground’s property in Welland, as well as an AGM and a special meeting being held this Sunday at Civic Square in Welland.

The NRAS has been around for 171 years and is incorporated under the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act. It is a creature of the province with its own constitution and by-laws. Media stories already circulating are raising alarm bells on this matter that involves several parties, including a real estate agent, a school board and a developer.

As a former Executive Director/CEO of a not-for-profit organization, I am familiar with constitutions and bylaws that ensure transparency and accountability, and that decisions made by the membership are in line with the stated mission and vision of the organization.

The sale of around 50 acres of fairground property could result in tens of millions of dollars in profit for the NRAS.

Where does the ministry come in if the NRAS is protected under the Horticultural Organizations Act? The community has a right to know what is happening with the future of the NRAS and its beloved fairgrounds.

I know your Ministry is aware of the unfolding situation. I am hopeful you can connect with the NRAS Board of Directors and ensure they follow their constitution, bylaws, and mission statement, and that as a result, they keep their at-large membership involved in this monumental decision.

Minister, all we want is to ensure transparency by all involved in the sale of this historic property.

Your time and consideration of this urgent matter is greatly appreciated.

Jeff Burch, MPP, Niagara Centre
St. Catharines