by Peter Conradi/Bullet News
The Niagara Parks Commission has rejected a bid by daredevil Nik Wallenda to cross the Horseshoe Falls on a tightrope.
"Safety and our responsibility to preserve and protect the falls, and all those who wish to view its beauty, are our paramount concern in reaching the decision we have," said NPC Chairwoman Janice Thomson.
The denial comes three weeks to the day after Wallenda made a personal pitch to the commission, which has a long history of denying what it considers to be stunts. The NPC controls all provincial parks in and around the falls and a tract of parkway that runs from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie.
"What we're doing is re-affirming our policy against stunting," said Thomson.
The 10-member commission held a conference call Tuesday night. At that time commissioners were asked if they wanted to re-open discussion of the Wallenda proposal. However, actual voting was done on an individual basis with Thomson; the commissioners do not know how others voted.
Thomson would not discuss the voting results.
"It's a decision of the Parks Commission," she said.
Commissioners are Thomson, Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin, Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor David Eke, Niagara Falls Reg. Coun. Barb Greenwood, Niagara Falls Coun. Vince Kerrio and provincial appointees William Forward, Patricia Li, Lori Sterling, Virginia West and Ron McKerlie, all from Toronto. There are two vacancies.
"I'm not as upset as you might think," Wallenda said Wednesday night from Florida. "I don't hold any animosity for the Parks Commission, and I don't think they were being vindictive or personal against me."
Wallenda said he will consult with his supporters in Canada, Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor among them, to see what his next move should be, and when.
Wallenda has said in the past he would appeal to Premier Dalton McGuinty if denied.
"We'll see. I want to talk to some people and then we'll decide. I don't have any influence or power up there. I'm going to put myself in the hands of people who know the system better and let them guide me," Wallenda said.