WRCC ready for big season under interim board

The Mayor’s Report with Welland Mayor Frank Campion

Frank Campion, Mayor City of Welland. Photo by Thies Bogner

Frank Campion, Mayor City of Welland. Photo by Thies Bogner

By Mayor Frank Campion – Welland is preparing for another successful season of international competition on the waterway. To ensure that the 2016 season produces outstanding competitions and stellar events, the City contracted the services of Welland resident and former sprint canoeist Olympian Richard Dalton to manage staff, facilitate events, administer rentals, and liaise between the community and municipality for the 2016 season. The recreational canal has always been, and continues to be a cherished landmark of Welland.

The Interim Welland Recreational Canal Corporation (WRCC) Board is providing management and governance during this transitional period, while ensuring continuity of operations, boat rentals, and a successful season of events. The world class Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC) is generating significant interest and attracting regional, provincial, national, and international events. This year the WIFC is hosting nearly 30 events at the state-of-the art venue and waterway.

The management and governance of the canal lands and waterway should involve the community at large to better build a management structure that invests in the City’s future. This is why we are turning to the public and inviting them to open houses to give them the opportunity to provide input and a vision of the canal’s future through a socio-economic lens.

After examining various models, the Interim Board is supportive of a hybrid model that could give Welland the best of both worlds. A hybrid structure would provide expertise knowledge from an advisory board consisting of canal user groups and key stakeholders. The advisory board would offer recommendations, which ultimately would be presented to Welland Council. Not only does this structure keep the waterway a corporate entity, it also brings organizations and key stakeholders to the table to provide strategic direction. Deciding the most effective management and governance model for the WRCC is essential to it becoming a financially self-sustaining business enterprise. The Welland canal is a significant part of this community and should emulate the public’s voice.

Our waterway is unique and deserves a unique approach to maximize opportunity, growth, and viability. We need to establish a management and governance model that will grow the City’s waterway as an example of economic achievement, social commitment, and set a standard for other Cities to adopt.