(North Bay, August 21, 2019) A letter from the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks request to conservation authorities to “wind down” activities the Minister suggests is outside their mandate blindsided and shocked the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA).
“It doesn’t make sense for the Minister to tell conservation authorities to cut back on programs that the province doesn’t fund and the board has the authority to deliver. We’ve been working for months with MECP staff to streamline changes in concert with the government’s goals. This letter flies in the face of that,” said Brian Tayler, NBMCA CAO.
Last Friday the MECP Minister Jeff Yurek advised conservation authorities they should “refocus their efforts on the delivery of programs and services related to risk of natural hazards, conservation and management of CA owned or controlled lands; drinking water source protection; protection of the Lake Simcoe watershed and other programs and services as prescribed by legislation”.
The province only provides funding for 13% of NBMCA’s $3.7 million budget to help cover the costs of those programs. NBMCA’s 10 member municipalities have a say in local programming through their representatives on the Board of Directors whose members approve the budget and municipal levy.
Water quality monitoring, integrated watershed management, stewardship, tree planting as well plan reviews, development and septic permits which provide important services for municipalities and residents in balancing human needs with the needs of the natural environment are funded through other means.
“28% of our 2019 budget is self-generated revenue, 14% of the budget comes from grants and other revenue, 35% comes from municipal levy approved by the board, and 10% comes from surplus. The province is actually our smallest source of revenue and already cut back their funding of our important natural hazard and flooding program by 50% this past spring. This letter begs some clarification,” added Tayler.
“The flood forecasting and flood control initiatives we deliver are important to the people of the watershed. This spring’s flooding is the perfect example of why these programs are essential,” he said.
NBMCA does this work on behalf of its member municipalities and the province. NBMCA’s 10 member municipalities include Bonfield, Callander, Calvin Twp, Chisholm Twp, East Ferris, Mattawa, Mattawan Twp, North Bay, Papineau-Cameron Twp, and Powassan.
“NBMCA and our member municipalities have relied on these programs throughout our 2,900 sq km watershed,” added Tayler.
The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority was founded in 1972 by the Province of Ontario and its 10 member municipalities. A non-profit organization, the NBMCA works closely with the public to balance human needs with environmental needs throughout the region’s watershed. The NBMCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities who are members of Conservation Ontario.
Brian Tayler, NBMCA CAO, (705) 474-5420
Sue Buckle, Manager, Communications & Outreach (705) 474-5420 cell: (705) 497-4999