The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks is consulting on the mandate of conservation authorities and has asked the public to respond to a survey. We need you to tell the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks how you feel about conservation authorities in your community. To assist you in completing the survey, we have prepared some key messaging for you to use in response. This messaging, which you will find below, will be especially useful for the “other comments” section near the end of the survey. (If you would like to see how Conservation Halton responded to the survey in greater detail, click here.) The deadline to respond is Friday, March 13. Click here to complete the survey.
1. The watershed-based approach of conservation authorities must be preserved.
Conservation authorities operate at the watershed level, which provides a bridge across municipal and jurisdictional boundaries, so that we can understand and address environmental issues, such as flooding. Conducting watershed monitoring, modelling and assessments, makes conservation authorities ideally positioned to develop strategies and inform decision-making at that level.
2. The role of conservation authorities in planning decisions must be maintained.
Conservation authorities’ role in planning decisions under the Planning Act and the Environmental Assessment Act ensure that developments do not result in changes to the floodplain and natural areas in a way that would put communities at risk of flooding. The Flood Advisor’s Report indicated strong support for the conservation authority model to protect Ontario from the impacts of climate change. This model only works if conservation authorities have the regulatory power necessary to intervene in planning decisions and development applications.
3. The role of conservation authorities in monitoring needs to be maintained and supported.
Watershed monitoring is necessary for conservation authorities to be able to provide the “core” programs related to flood management and drinking water source protection. Monitoring also holds significant value in broader environmental conservation efforts, such as restoration projects.
4. Conservation authorities should continue to play a key role in delivering community projects in partnership with municipalities and other organizations.
Conservation authorities often partner with local environmental, agricultural and community groups to implement projects, such as restoring or creating natural areas, best practices for sustainable farming and stormwater management workshops for homeowners.
5. Management of conservation authority lands needs to be maintained and supported.
Conservation areas were developed to protect headwaters and store floodwaters. The use of these areas to provide access to nature, opportunities for recreation and an outdoor classroom to teach future generations, are an added benefit that has been monetized in order to fund their intended function.