Heritage Lives: Ghosts Of The WRCC

Part 1

By Terry Hughes

WELLAND – Recently, Row Ontario announced it will make its home on our Welland International Flatwater Course. They cited the fact that this facility is one of the finest in the country and that their relationship with the operator of the course, the city, has been a good one for the past ten years.

Simple arithmetic shows that Row Ontario’s relationship was primarily with the Welland Recreational Canal Corporation (WRCC) on a course that was developed under its supervision. Newspaper accounts indicate that the course was developed within the budget set at the time and it is given high marks by those organizations who have come here to use it.

Ironically, the WRCC was dissolved several years ago and administration now functions under a new governance model. According to the city this change was necessary and would facilitate a more efficient operation featuring openness and accountability.

But with this new approach, would the dissolution of the WRCC change any of the fundamental features that protected and assisted in developing the canal lands? Could a less drastic change have been made that would have reduced risks to this local asset?  Was the public given the total story about why the city questioned the way the WRCC did business?

Using documents, newspaper accounts and reliable sources, an argument can be made about the – in my opinion – unnecessary dissolution of the WRCC that unfortunately could not be made at the time the city rushed the change to its present model. It will raise some questions about the financial future and control of this local asset. More to follow. 

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

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