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Ontario cuts payments to Quinte Conservation flood programs by half

A 50 per cent cut by the provincial government to transfer payments given to 36 conservation authorities across Ontario for natural hazard programs has left a large financial gap in Quinte Conservation’s budget.

More importantly, said Brad McNevin, Quinte Conservation CAO, a funding gap for the critical services that help protect public health and safety from the impacts of flooding. Doug Ford’s government, a day after tabling its first budget, notified conservation authorities flood management program payments would be cut in half.

For the last 20 years, Quinte Conservation has relied on the transfer payment of $321,776 from the Ontario government to fund essential flood programs to the 18 municipalities and residents throughout the 6,000 km2 watershed.

“The government has been very clear about its goal to reduce costs, but a 50 per cent reduction in payments that support government-mandated responsibilities will have a significant impact on how we can deliver our programs and services.”

He explained conservation authorities have a variety of responsibilities around flood management in Ontario. These include:
• Forecast flooding and issue warnings
• Monitor streamflow, rainfall and snow packs
• Floodplain mapping
• Collectively, manage and operate $2.7 billion in flood infrastructure such as dams and dykes
• Provide planning support and advice to the province, municipalities and the federal government to minimize flood impacts
• Regulate development activities in floodplains
• Contribute to municipal emergency planning and preparedness activities, as well as recovery activities
• Inform and educate the public about flooding
• Protect, restore, and rehabilitate natural cover that contributes to reducing the impacts of flooding

“Climate change, an ever-growing concern for the authority, has had serious effects on the region over the last several years,” McNevin said.

“With three major flooding events (2008, 2014, and 2017) and a large scale drought (2016), Quinte Conservation is preparing for more frequent extreme weather events to impact the watershed. Delivering critical services to inform and protect the public will become increasingly difficult with reduced funding.

“It is imperative that we continue to deliver the same services to the public and our municipalities. We’ll be working with our board to determine a strategy moving forward.”

In addition to the responsibilities listed above, Quinte Conservation manages 42 water management structures in the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers and Prince Edward County.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Chuck says:

    Some would argue hard that taking control of the public 350 Billion debt is for the people. No one like cuts but we cannot continue to spend continuously out of control. You can’t do it your own home and neither can our government. Someone has to pay, and the day has arrived.

  2. Roberta Cullin says:

    So Much for Mr. Ford keeping his promises that he would be for the people.

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