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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
HomeHealth and LifestyleSome local conservation programs in jeopardy

Some local conservation programs in jeopardy

KAWARTHA LAKES-Kawartha Conservation (KC)was one of 36 conservation authorities (CA)to receive a letter from the province late Friday afternoon asking them to “wind down” some activities. According to Conservation Ontario, the province’s conservation authorities own 150, 000 acres of land in Ontario and operate more than 500 conservation areas.

Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski told Kawartha 411 News he was surprised by the letter.

“It was surprising to get a letter that asked us to “wind down activities that fall outside the scope of your core mandate” since the core mandated programs have not been established at this time.” Majchrowski told Kawartha 411 News. “There have not been any discussions with the Ministry to identify these programs, which would be identified in the regulation that supports the general direction recently established in the Act that governs us.”

According to Majchrowski there was also no mention of a transition period or the agreements to be struck with municipalities as identified in the Act.  The Municipality would be left to fill the gaps for any services they want to continue but those discussions have not even begun.

The letter suggest conservation officials continue with priority programming, such as flood control and drinking water source protection but leaves questions about other programming.

“I am glad that the Province recognizes the importance of a few programming areas, such as natural hazard programs, management of conservation areas and drinking water source protection.”

Municipalites currently account for about 30% of Conservation Authority funding.  Majchrowski hopes that municipalities will recognize the importance of the other work they do, which he says has not been supported by the Province yet, and increase funding appropriately. Things such as on the ground action to improve the quality of lakes and rivers, monitoring land and water so they can plan sustainably for the future, and providing the community opportunities to enjoy public spaces which also ties in to healthy lifestyles and family activities.

“For these programs not identified as the core scope of our work, municipalities will have to agree that these programs are important and continue to fund them. The work we continue will be a direct reflection of these conversations.”

Kawartha Conservation is a watershed-based, non-profit organization established in 1979 by the municipalities within our watershed under the Ontario Conservation Authorities Act. Programs and services are focused within the natural boundaries of the Kawartha watershed, which extend from Lake Scugog in the southwest and Pigeon Lake in the east, to Balsam Lake in the northwest and Crystal Lake in the northeast – a total of 2,563 square kilometres. Municipal partners include the City of Kawartha Lakes, the Township of Scugog, the Township of Brock, the Municipality of Clarington, the Municipality of Trent Lakes, and the Township of Cavan Monaghan.

Majchrowski say KC has been providing educational opportunities for local youth which are operated on a cost neutral basis for municipalities, funding for the agricultural community, shoreline owners and landowners is available to improve the water quality of our lakes and rivers, and they also work with municipalities and partners to put in projects and explore solutions that have a meaningful impact on our communities and water quality as well. “An example of this includes improving our beach areas so the community can use these areas more, since some are closed frequently due to water quality concerns.  We also monitor how well our lakes and rivers are responding to activities on the landscape, so we can supply policy and decision makers about how we should be responding to plan better for ourselves, our future generations and for the economic viability of the region.”

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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