Otonabee Conservation believes that the Province should not pre-empt the process that has been laid out in the amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act; the Province should focus on confirming the standards and requirements for our core programs so CAs can advance with the conversations that need to occur with municipalities about the future of municipal and other programs and services currently delivered by CAs.
In a letter sent to CAs on August 16, 2019, Jeff Yurek, Minister of Environment, Conservation, and Parks, preemptively asks CAs to start winding down services and programs that potentially fall outside the scope of CA core mandates.
Otonabee Conservation also believes that the Province should not interfere with a CAs ability to either raise a levy or increase fees to offset the reduction in provincial grants that were announced this past spring.
While it is premature to definitively say how our communities will be affected by these changes, we will be able to better understand this after the province releases the regulations that define the standards and requirements of the core programs and services.
Otonabee Conservation’s early interpretation of the Province’s potential categorization of CA programs and services, suggests that the programs and services at risk might include:
- Operation of day-use conservation areas such as Harold Town, Miller Creek, Young’s Point, Imagine the Marsh, Jackson Creek Trail, Squirrel Creek, Selwyn Beach that provide outdoor recreation opportunities such as hiking, biking, and swimming;
- Operation of Warsaw Caves Conservation Area that provides day-use activities and family camping;
- Tree seedling sales and advisory services that help landowners restore and steward their lands;
- Delivery of events and outdoor education and learning programs that help youth and family experience and learn about the natural environment.