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Councillor seeks official support of conservation authority in light of cuts to flooding programs

With forecasts for another year of extreme flooding, councillor Bill Roberts seeks council’s official support to push back provincial government cuts to Quinte Conservation Authority (QCA) programs and services.

Quinte Conservation is among 36 authorities across the province working through a 50 per cent cut by the provincial government to transfer payments for natural hazard programs.

Robert’s notes the “County has experienced disastrous and unprecedented flooding in both 2017 and 2019, with indications that these inundations may constitute the new normal.”

At Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Roberts seeks support to forward a resolution to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Premier Doug Ford, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), Todd Smith MPP, the QCA and all Ontario municipalities.

The cut to the $7.4 million Natural Hazards Transfer Payment Grant announced last spring creates a funding gap for such services as flood and erosion control infrastructure, forecasting and warnings; watershed planning projects and technical studies for 18 municipalities and residents throughout the 6,000 km2 watershed Quinte Conservation has served for the past 20 years.

Roberts states the impact “will be immediately and particularly felt in smaller and more rural areas such as the Municipality of Prince Edward County.”

He wants the municipality to support the continuation of the programs and services of the Quinte Conservation Authority, both mandatory and non-mandatory, and that no programs or services of the QCA be “wound
down” at this time. At Committee of the Whole, the paragraphs with the wording about mandatory and non-mandatory, and programs and services were removed. It was learned talks are ongoing with the ministry and council is pleased Quinte Conservation will make a visit to further discuss programs specific to the County.

CAO Marcia Wallace noted support of the resolution sends a signal, but does not bind the municipality in any way, or change its relationship with Quinte Conservation.

The resolution asks the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to give clear direction as to what programs and services are considered mandatory and non-mandatory, and how those programs will be funded in
the future for smaller and more rural areas such as the County.

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