It’s a difficult time for conservation authorities across Ontario. Pandemic? Yeah, that’s part of it. Conservation authorities can’t take part in their usual programming, and they’ve lost normally dependable funds because of that, plus there are all the new precautions they have to take in areas of their parks that are open. But that’s just the beginning of the current headaches for conservation authorities.
Back in November, the Ontario government announced the 2020-21 provincial budget, and like their previous budget there was some very non-budget related stuff in the fine print. Schedule 6 of the budget bill, Bill 229, took away some autonomy from the province’s 36 conservation authorities including a clause that forces those authorities to issue permits at the insistence of the minister. There was some disagreement on that.
The person now charged to work through those disagreements on our end through the Grand River Conservation Authority is Guelph/Eramosa Mayor Chris White. White has been mayor of Guelph/Eramosa since 2006, he was Warden for the County of Wellington from 2011 to 2014, and he’s been part of the GRCA board since 2014. He was appointed chair of the board just last month, and the complex situation coming out of Bill 229 is a lot to deal with for someone with less than two months on the job, so how’s he coping?
That’s one of the questions Mayor White will answer, and he will also talk about why the GRCA is so important to him, and the current stresses the GRCA is facing because of the pandemic. On the issues with the Province, White will talk about why he intends to proceed with the working group in good faith, and the legitimate issues concerning the management of conservation authorities that really do need to be addressed. And finally, White will discuss his goals and concerns for 2021.
So let’s talk about the view from the GRCA board on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
You can learn more about the Grand River Conservation Authority at their website. The next meeting of the GRCA board of directors is this Friday at 9:30 am, which is also the annual general meeting for the GRCA, and you can find the agenda and links to the virtual meeting here.
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