There's excitement on both sides of the border, now that professional daredevil Nik Wallenda has cleared the final hurdle to proceed with a high-wire walk over the Niagara Gorge Canadian park officials clearing the way for tightrope walker Nik Wallenda to perform the stunt over the Niagara Gorge later this year.
Canadian regional parks officials gave their approval on Wednesday, meaning Wallenda and his team can now with plans. Official suggest Wallenda and his team were aiming for late June but with planning just starting, no firm date is set.
The daredevil and elected officials from the U.S. and Canada joined together at a news conference inside the Niagara Falls International Airport to celebrate news that the stunt can go ahead. Kim Craitor, Member of Provincial Parliament, noted during the news conference that the timing of the planned stunt is appropriate in a "special year" for the U.S. and Canada, which both will mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
Wallenda told reporters and curious onlookers that he does not intend to simply come into town, do the stunt and then leave. He suggested an interest in making the Niagara Region a second home where he could produce segments for his television program now being produced by the Discovery Channel, scheduled to premier later this year.
"Part of that is visiting hospitals, visiting schools," said Wallenda. "I'm a man of integrity and I hope to be an example. First and foremost I need to be an example to my three children, but after that to everybody else in the world. I try to stand out for what's moral and what's right and that's really the basis of everything that I do."
Already there has been international interest in the story, with Wallenda conducting interviews with journalists based worldwide in recent days. Elected officials see this interest as potential big business, with the estimated economic impact up into hundreds of millions of dollars.
"Nik Wallenda's high-wire walk will put Niagara Falls in the international spotlight in a positive way," said State Senator George Maziarz, who led the news conference. "Without a doubt, this will become one of the most highly anticipated events in the world in 2012. Hundreds, millions, thousands of people will converge on the Niagara Region and watch this event on worldwide television."