Province’s Bill 229 limits ability to protect the environment, conservation authorities say

Ministry says proposal will improve governance ‘while respecting taxpayer dollars

Local conversation authorities say changes proposed by the provincial government will greatly hinder their ability to protect the environment and watershed.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA), Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and Conservation Halton (CH) have all sent letters to the provincial government calling on them to scrap the plans.

“These changes will significantly compromise and in some cases, completely change the role of conservation authorities to protect Ontario’s environment and ensure people and property are safe from natural hazards,” said a media release from the NPCA, which also covers portions of Haldimand County and Hamilton.

Bill 229, an omnibus budget measures bill tabled by the Progressive Conservatives on Nov. 5, included a section amending the Conservation Authorities Act.

Among the proposed changes in Schedule 6, the bill opens up new appeal avenues allowing developers to bypass conservation authorities. It also removes citizens from their boards and mandates that they be comprised of elected officials.

Chandra Sharma, CAO and secretary/treasurer at NPCA, said in a media release that the group anticipated provincial support after deploying its limited resources during the pandemic to ensure people could enjoy the outdoors safely.

The proposed changes, she said, are disappointing.

Read More here: www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/conservation-authorities-hamilton-niagara-1.5813985

Christine Rankin · CBC News