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Canadian mayor backs Niagara Falls high-wire stunt

NIAGARA FALLS — The mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, has become the first Canadian official to publicly support an attempt by daredevil Nik Wallenda to cross Niagara Falls on a wire, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Mayor James Diodati wrote to state Sen. George Maziarz to say that he supports the high-wire stunt because it would draw people to the area, The Buffalo News reported.

Maziarz co-sponsored legislation to allow the first wire walk across the falls since 1910. The measure, which was approved by the Legislature last month but not yet sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, directs the state parks agency to write rules and regulations specifically for Wallenda’s walk across the Niagara River Gorge.

In his letter to Maziarz last week, Diodati wrote: “Bringing an act of such exceptional quality and stellar reputation as the Wallendas to Niagara Falls would be a great highlight for our city.”

Niagara Falls, N.Y., Mayor Paul Dyster and tourism officials on the U.S. side of the border support the stunt, but Dyster has said his economically struggling city needs to take into account concerns that the event could be perceived as a “sideshow” to the falls.

If Cuomo signs the bill into law, Wallenda would still need permission from Canadian officials if he is to end the walk in an area overseen by the Niagara Parks Commission. The Ontario commission has denied such requests in the past.

The 32-year-old Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of the “Flying Wallendas,” has said it has been his dream to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls.

“I almost tear up thinking about being out in the middle of that and what it’s going to look like,” he told The Associated Press on the day the state Assembly passed the wire-walking legislation.