by John Robbins and Peter Conradi/Bullet News
Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan has told wirewalker Nik Wallenda he doesn't have the legal authority to overturn a Niagara Parks Commission decision denying his request for permission to wirewalk the Niagara Gorge.
The minister has instead spoken to NPC chairwoman Janice Thomson to encourage the provincial agency to give Wallenda another chance to make his pitch in greater detail.
"I think he's a passionate person and a person who doesn't easily give up," Chan, who called Wallenda's proposal "very interesting," told Bullet News Friday afternoon.
"I made it very clear to him I don't have the power under the (Niagara Parks) Act to overturn the NPC decision."
Far from being dismayed, Wallenda said he emerged from the 1 1/2 hour, face-to-face meeting with Chan at Queen's Park with a renewed feeling of optimism.
"I feel like we're going to get our fair shot again," said Wallenda, who was preparing to catch a flight back to his home in Sarasota, Fla.
"It (the meeting) went very well. It was extremely positive. He clearly understood our position. ... I feel like the doors are wide open again."
In another development Friday, though, the New York State Parks has come out against Wallenda's so-called Plan B of walking across the American falls if he cannot secure permission from the Canadians.