When Schedule 6 of Bill 229 came to light with a resulting outcry from organizations and members of the public, the province said that municipalities were asking for changes to Conservation Authorities. According to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) however, they were “… looking for refinements, not ‘wholesale’ changes.”
In fact, AMO President, Graydon Smith, wrote to the Premier last week, and made a submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs asking that Schedule 6 of Bill 229 be withdrawn so that matters of concern can be resolved.
The following is the stand that AMO has taken with the Province:
“The changes proposed in Schedule 6 are raising alarm for many municipal leaders, and others, about how the proposed amendments can be implemented and how these changes would improve conservation authority effectiveness and efficiencies. Of significant concern is the creation of an apparent conflict between the fiduciary duty of Conservation Authority Board members and the proposed amendment requiring board members to act on behalf of their respective municipal councils.
The submission also seems to provide the potential to bypass the local development approval process, resulting in the loss of local scientific analysis. Other amendments open the door to possible reductions in user fees (which are designed to recoup costs). It also addresses the removal of the (un-proclaimed) section giving conservation authorities the power to issue stop work orders. The power for conservation authorities to issue stop work orders is needed to harmonize municipal and conservation authority enforcement actions on illegal dumping.
Tremendous effort has been put forward by municipal governments to find a collective path forward that addresses certain issues and bolsters the ability to protect the environment in a meaningful way. Municipal leaders were looking for needed Conservation Authorities Act refinements, not this proposed wholesale change.”
If Schedule 6 is not withdrawn, AMO is asking that it at least be delayed until concerns can be clarified and operational problems can be resolved.
“At a time when the public is very concerned about climate change and increased flooding and storm events, there are a substantial number of questions and concerns are coming from municipal governments about implementing these changes effectively. It is critical that we make sure that the changes to the Conservation Authorities Act are a positive step forward, without unintended consequences,” said Smith.
One of the major concerns is the destruction of wetlands that play an integral role in flood and erosion control (To learn more about wetlands, CLICK HERE).
It would appear that Schedule 6 has, in fact, been designed to allow developers to access green spaces, which include wetlands, and without the control of Conservation Authorities .
The withdrawal of Schedule 6 is important, not just for today but for future generations. To have your voice heard, contact: contact your MPP and connect with the Premier by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter (@FordNation) or telephone (416-325-1941) or sign the petition – online Petition
This is the last week with the 3rd reading by the government rushing this change through.