MEETING PREVIEW: Grand River Conservation Board Meeting for March 24, 2023

This month’s meeting of the Grand River Conservation Authority membership will cover a wide variety of issues including the usual topics like current watershed conditions, and current financial conditions. In terms of recent events, the membership will look at remediating some contaminated land in Cambridge, a new pilot for pheasant hunting, and the mandated changes to programs and services.

NOTE: This meeting will be in a hybrid format, broadcast from the GRCA Admin Centre on YouTube starting at 9:30 am.

Correspondence – The one letter this month is from Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott noting receipt of a letter with comments from the GRCA about the changes to conservation authorities in Bill 23. “I appreciate the comments submitted by the Grand River Conservation Authority in response to our postings on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. I assure you that all comments received are being taken into consideration,” Smith said.

Minutes of the Ad-Hoc Conservation Authorities Act Committee from March 13, 2023 – Five representatives from the membership, including Chair Chris White and Vice-Chair Susan Foxton, are part of this committee who’s goal has been to provide input and direction to the ways that the GRCA are implementing changes to the Conservation Authorities Act. Much of what they talked about will be discussed in the next couple of reports.

Updated Inventory of Programs and Services – Several changes ago, all conservation authorities in Ontario had to come up with an inventory of their programs and file them between three categories: those that are mandatory, those that are requested by the member municipalities, and the ones that they’ve optionally decided to take on. This will be the final version of this inventory, and much of the recent changes seem tied to Bill 23’s instance that conservation authorities play a more limited role in planning.

Progress Report #4 – The progress here concerns the above topic around programs and services, and the GRCA staff says that they are on schedule delivering these mandated changes. As of the end of December, staff have not received any concerns or formal comments from participating municipalities, negotiations have begun with half of the participating municipalities on category 2 programs and services, and there’s been strong co-ordination with neighbouring authorities.

Cash and Investment Status – As of the end of February, the GRCA has Notes Receivable in the amount of $53,507,444 with outstanding cheques written in the amount of $278,810.

Financial Summary – These financial statements include the actual year-to-date income and expenditures pending final approval at this very meeting. The forecast for the year will likely see a nil surplus by the end of the fiscal year.

Janitorial and Sanitation Supply Request for Proposal – After the conclusion of the request for proposal (RFP) process on February 28, staff have determined that Staples Professional will offer the best bang for their buck when it comes to the procurement of janitorial and sanitation supplies out of the two tenders received. The membership will need to endorse the staff recommendation so that they can enter into a three-year contract with Staples Professional.

Conestogo Pheasant Club Pilot Project – The GRCA has been working with the Conestogo Pheasant Club to come up with an agreement to allow pheasant hunting in Area #3 of the Conestogo Lake Conservation Area in Mapleton. The original program was discontinued in 2019 because there was too much of an impact on GRCA resources given the comparatively low number of people taking part, but the board at the time left the door open to a third-party management agreement. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters have volunteered to work with the GRCA to administer the new program, and staff are recommending approval.

Permit Application 148/23: Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines Regulation – An Environmental Site Assessment discovered contamination in 0.1 hectares of a 0.28 hectare wetland in Cambridge, revealing elevated concentrations of metals and petroleum hydrocarbons left behind from buried metal drums, waste and other debris. The property owner has presented a plan to the GRCA to remediate the contaminated portion of the site, and will additionally create 0.19 new hectares of wetland at the north end of the site and immediately adjacent to the current wetland.

Grand River Watershed Report Card – Conservation Ontario co-ordinates a watershed report card every five years, kind of like a census for Conservation Authorities; it covers groundwater quality, surface water quality, and forest and wetland conditions. The report card will be released on Wednesday March 22 and will be posted on the GRCA website here.

Grand River Watershed Flood Notification System – A Hybrid Flood Co-ordinators meeting took place on February 23 and had 136 participants, and everyone there heard that there was a low risk of river flooding this year due to the lack of snow pack. Also, there’s practically no ice on any of the rivers, so there will likely be no ice jams either. The meeting also followed up on the updated Flood Warning System booklet that was mailed out to partners in January and discussed at the December membership meeting.

Current Watershed Conditions – The rain and snow melting in early February resulted in higher river levels, where was used to fill reservoirs to levels higher than normal for the mid-point in February, and then there’s all the snow that has fallen since then to factor into future (meaning present) conditions. Lake Erie is also above average in terms of lake levels for this time of year, but it’s still below 2022 levels. The forecast looks normal for the next three months.


Property Disposition, City of Brantford – Because this has to do with the “proposed or pending acquisition or disposition” of land it will need to be discussed in-camera.


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