Friday, May 26, 2006

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT PLANNED

Parks head tells Rotary big plan to be revealed soon

BY JENNIFER PELLEGRINI Review Staff Writer

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE -The Niagara Parks Commis­sion will spend half-a-billion dollars over the next 10 years to give tourists and locals more reasons to play in Nia­gara parks - including a "major announcement" com­ing this summer.

"Obviously, I can't tell you what that is just now, but stay tuned," Niagara Parks Commission chairman Jim Williams said Tuesday, during an address to the Niagara Falls Rotary Club at the Queenston Heights Restau­rant.

Niagara Parks Commission chairman Jim Williams was the guest speaker at the Niagara Falls Rotary Club's May luncheon, held at the Queenston Heights Restaurant Tuesday.

At least part of that money will be used to restore the Toronto Power and Canadian Niagara Power buildings along the river which the NPC will acquire in the next couple of years.

The CNP building in particular, Williams said earlier this year, is in pristine condition, and would be the ideal spot for a museum dedi­cated to Niagara's connection to the history of hydro-electric power.

The Parks will also obtain a third power station building located in the gorge, which will be destroyed to "return the gorge to its natural state," Williams said.

While those projects are in the future; there are plans in the works for at least one new attraction for the summer of 2006.

"Moonlight movies" will be shown in the Oakes Garden The­atre this July and August, with midnight screenings of popular films.

During his half-hour speech, Williams stressed the importance of revenue generation to the NPC which does not receive any govern­ment funding.

Money made by admission fees to six attractions, as well as from park­ing lots, golf courses, gift shops, restaurants and cafeterias is used for roads and infrastructure mainte­nance throughout the NPC net­work, which extends 56 kilometres along the Niagara Parkway from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie.

Last year alone, the NPC invested $1.9 million in Queen Victoria Park, $725,000 in public washrooms in NPC facilities, $850,000 in greenhouses and $250,000 on the floral clock, Williams said.

"(Making money to support capi­tal investments and infrastructure upgrades) is becoming more and more of a challenge," he said. "So we must find new ways to generate revenue.",



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