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“I think it’s wandering a select set of developer interests,” Byrne said.
Byron expressed concern that taking decisions on development in the hands of the ministry opens up the process of political influence rather than taking into account local water sheds and the environment.
“The risks and risks of potential liability will be covered by local taxpayers,” he warns. “If we are not repealed, then we can see significant costs to follow and follow Schedule 6 locally. The scope and scale of this change is not subtle. This represents an important change and direction. “
Ian Wilcox of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority described the change as “Draconian”.
Wilcox told the London Free Press, “When conservation authorities were created in the 1940s, it was that there was a raft of environmental programs in municipalities in Ontario, and it was not working.” “It seems like we’re returning to the same set-up that put our creation in the first place.”
The government argues that the change was shown by municipal complaints over the increasing costs of conservation authority services.
In 2019, the ministry announced plans to revive conservation officials and asked them to refocus on their original mandate. It invited online feedback and made more than 2,000 submissions.
“We are aware of the widespread feedback received in each of these areas that we are reporting changes we are proposing to improve the administration, oversight and accountability of conservation authorities, while paying municipalities by them Respecting taxpayer dollars on to-do conservation authority services, ”Jeff Ourek, Minister of Environmental Protection and Horticulture, wrote in an email to the London Free Press.
Byron states that the extensive amendments that have been made under a ubiquitous bill on economic reform from COVID-19 were actually “counter to negotiating with this government in 2019. Schedule 6 agrees to all those things , Which were agreed upon and negotiated. “
Conservation authorities were set up so that municipalities could work together in a common water zone on local water management. Their goal is to ensure that new development is balanced with adequate greenspaces and does not threaten critical natural environmental characteristics.
“At the end of the day, from what I understand this law is seriously trying to undermine the ability of the conservation authority to do what is necessary to protect the watershed and the environment,” said Kieren McKenzie, of the ERCA The board of directors and a Windsor Municipal Councilor. “It would remove some of those enforcement powers.”
McKenzie is also skeptical of the government’s claim that these steps would actually streamline the approval process for developers.
He argues that all this is directly with the minister, it is inevitable that this process should be prolonged.