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youDiscover Series Crowns its Champions
Running Red LightsThe decision is final. After a difficult deliberation, seven weeks of competitions, 22 independent music artists and 22 comedians, the judges have made their choice. The band Running Red Lights of Toronto has been crowned musical champion, while Calwyn Shurgold, of Toronto has been selected best comic performer in this year’s youDiscover Summer Competition.

As a result of their winning performance, Running Red Lights will now receive a recording contract from Orange Lounge Recordings. More importantly, their victory has now earned them the opening spot on the nationally broadcast New Year’s Eve show in Queen Victoria Park, in Niagara Falls.

Calwyn Shurgold

Comedian Calwyn Shurgold, who had the large Friday night crowd at Oakes Garden Theatre “laughing in the aisles”, also receives the right to appear at this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration. In total, the youDiscover competition offered series contestants a chance to compete for a prize package valued at over $35,000.

The Grand Finale, held on August 27, was hosted by The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) at its scenic Oakes Garden Theatre. Each of the final five artists and comics performed before a live audience and a panel of industry experts including one of last year’s finalists and one of Orange Lounge Recordings newest recording artists, Robyn Dell’Unto. Be sure to visit to watch videos from the Finale, which will be available online on Wednesday. more…

Memo: Code of Conduct for the Commissioners and Sr Staff

niagara-parks-footer-logoCode of Conduct
Code of Conduct for the Commissioners and Senior Staff
January 20th, 2010
Memo to: Commissioners & Senior Staff
From: Howard Grant, Fairness Commissioner
PPI Consulting Limited
Re: Restrictions on Lobbying Activities related to the Request for Proposals for Tour Boat Services

I have been hired by the Ministry of Tourism to assist the Niagara Parks Commission with the competitive process for tour boat services. In my role as Fairness Commissioner, I will provide oversight and process advice to ensure fairness throughout the competitive process.

The Niagara Parks Commission has established a Project Team comprised of John Kernahan, Nick Murphy and Joel Noden for the planning, design and advancement of this initiative. From time to time, others in the Commission may also be requested to contribute their expertise to the initiative. more…

Union calls for 2010 strike vote
by Bill Robinson

Contract talks between the Niagara Parks Commission and the union representing its employees have broken down, with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 217 calling for a strike vote early in the new year. OPSEU Local 217, which represents roughly 600 full-time and seasonal NPC employees, has been without a contract since Oct. 31, 2009.

A statement issued by staff representative and OPSEU negotiator Pati Habermann last Friday said the Parks Commission had tabled concession demands and filed for conciliation. The union announced it would hold a strike vote in early January. “Despite the best attempts of the bargaining team, the employer has refused to entertain any substantial union proposals. Citing ‘philosophical differences,’ the employer will not respond to issues such as job security, scheduling, seniority and hours of work, issues identified as being top priorities for employees,” Habermann said. “The employer’s position so far is to table concessions in layoff language, benefits scheduling, leaves and an attempt to introduce a two-tier wage system for seasonal members.” more…