Daredevil gets thumbs up for Niagara Falls tightrope walk
Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda will finally realize his dream of walking across Niagara Falls this summer after he received approval for the stunt Wednesday.
The Niagara Parks Commission board gave Wallenda the go-ahead during a public meeting, after initially denying the daredevil's request in December.
The board is allocating 45 days to work out the details of the event, including a date for the walk.
Wallenda, 32, had been aiming for a date in July or August but the commission is looking at June, before the busy tourist season begins.
A study suggests live television coverage of the event could generate up $120 million in revenue for the Niagara region.
Wallenda, who bills himself as "King of the high wire," said Wednesday that people the world over have been watching his efforts to get permission for the stunt.
He said that while he has completed tightrope walks that were higher up and covered a longer distance, Niagara Falls has a special appeal because it's a historic site.
"My family's been doing this for over 200 years and seven generations, and I'm carrying on a legacy," the descendent of the famous circus performers The Flying Wallendas, told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.
"This has been a dream of mine ever since I was about 6 years old, to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope."
After the board denied Wallenda's request in December, he met with Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan to tout his plan.
Wallenda then met with senior staff of the Parks Commission, which had cited its policy against stunts for originally turning him down.
The board said Wednesday it will only consider requests for such stunts once every 20 years.
Janice Thomson, chairwoman of the Niagara Parks Commission, said Wallenda provided additional information including the assurance that he had the proper safety measures in place.
"This decision was approved in part in recognition of the role that stunting has played in the history and promotion of Niagara Falls," said Thomson.
"We have made it clear that this is a very unique one-time situation. It's not an everyday activity and will not be allowed to become an everyday activity."
With files from The Canadian Press