NOTTAWASAGA VALLEY CONSERVATION AUTHORITY
UTOPIA – Residents in the Nottawasaga Valley watershed are encouraged to comment on the proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act to help ensure there is adequate funding for important services that the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) provides.
The Ontario government released the changes on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. As part of the public consultation process, members of the public can comment on these changes on the before June 27, 2021.
The proposed changes lists the services that are core and non-core. Municipalities would be mandated to provide funds for core services, such as flood management, permitting and planning services. However, municipalities can opt-out of non-core services, including maintaining hiking trails, environmental restoration on private land, providing education programs, planting forests and most components for stream, groundwater and wetland monitoring.
“Our natural resources provide numerous ecosystem services to those who live, work and play in the watershed”, commented Doug Hevenor, CAO of NVCA. “Maintaining and enhancing these natural resources requires an integrated approach. By dividing our services into core and non-core, we may have to make the difficult choice to eliminate or reduce programs from the integrated process. This makes it much more difficult to ensure nature’s ecosystem services are in place and are resilient to climate change and the impacts of urban growth.”
Residents are encouraged to submit comments about their experiences with NVCA’s noncore programs and to ask the Minister to reconsider dividing programs into core and noncore. Examples include experiences in NVCA’s conservation areas, working with the stewardship team to restore stream and river banks as well as children’s experiences at the Tiffin Centre for Conservation.
“Currently, NVCA receives 50% of our funding from our municipal partners,” continued Hevenor. “Under the new legislation, funding for non-core work could be drastically reduced from current levels. This funding is vital for maintaining our conservation areasand allows our education staff to develop programs. Our talented stewardship staff raises four times as much funds to restore our streams and rivers to improve water quality, maintain tourism and provide habitat in all of our partner municipalities.”
Residents can visit the Environmental Registry of Ontario to provide comments and to learn more about the proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act.