Conservation Halton Raises Alarm over Proposed Changes to Conservation Authorities Act

Conservation Halton is alarmed over proposed changes to Conservation Authorites

By: Laura Steiner
Conservation Halton is raising some alarms over proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities (CA)’s Act by the Ontario government.  Bill 229, known as the Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act would see  new decision-making powers given to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry over permit applications, and prohibit CA’s from appealing municipal planning decisions to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
“There are a number of disappoint proposed changes that have the potential to undermine conservation authorities and our ability to make science-based watershed management decisions in the interest of public health and safety,” CEO of Conservation Halton Hassan Bassit said in a news release.  Conservation Halton has three areas of focus: Water Resources management, Forest Resources Management, and Lifelong Education and Recreation.
Bill 229 is also proposing the board of directors be completely constructed of municipal councilors.  As it stands now, there are a limited number of spots for citizens.  “Living through the pandemic, we have seen first-hand just how important our environment and wetlands are to our residents.  We do not want to see any decisions made that increase the risks from natural hazards, especially as we continue to work to mitigate climate change and conserve our watershed to allow for responsible growth today, without sacrificing the right of future generations to do the same,” Bassit added.   Residents are invited to write their MPP, Premier, as well as ministers of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Natural Resources and Forestry.  The legislation is currently in debate at second reading.