The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Has NO AUTHORITY To Destroy Wetlands

By Sandra O’Connor

A Special to Niagara At Large, Posted July 5th, 2016

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) has no basis in law to pursue biodiversity offsetting.

Ontario’s Conservation Authorities Act states; “The objects of an authority are to establish and undertake, a program designed to further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources.”

Destroying one wetland in favour of creating another wetland is not conservation, restoration, development or management.

A provincially significant wetland in Niagara Falls, pegged for wholesale destruction by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority under the guise of a "biodiversity offsetting" scheme.

A provincially significant wetland in Niagara Falls, pegged for wholesale destruction by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority under the guise of a “biodiversity offsetting” scheme.

The Conservation Authorities’ Regulations state: “an Authority may make regulations restricting and regulating the use of water in or from wetlands and prohibiting, regulating or requiring the permission of the authority for straightening, changing, diverting or interfering in any way with a wetland”.

Again, destruction of a wetland is not included in the regulations.

The NPCA uses Ontario Regulation 155/06 under the Ontario Conservations Authorities Act to justify investigating biodiversity offsetting.

The Act states: “The Authority may grant permission for development in or on the areas described in subsection 2 (1) if, in its opinion, the control of flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches, pollution or the conservation of land will not be affected by the development”.

None of these justifications are applicable to the biodiversity offsetting proposed at the Thundering Waters Forest location in Niagara Falls.

To make this even more unjustifiable, the NPCA has no right to do this on wetlands classified by the province as “provincially significant wetlands”, which is the case at this location in Niagara Falls.

Ontario wetlands are ranked to determine whether they should receive special protection as “provincially significant”. These areas are quite properly protected from site alteration.biodiversity sign

The Government of Ontario website states “Regulations under the Conservation Authorities Act prohibit certain activities within wetlands”. However, the NPCA further uses its own policy creations to give them authority for what they are doing.

This is self-serving and unjustifiable.

When the province released a whitepaper considering allowing biodiversity offsetting, the NPCA sought to host a pilot project.

After first denying that they intended to support a pilot at the Thundering Waters Forest location in Niagara Falls, the NPCA eventually revealed their plan to support this.

The NPCA wants to change the Conservation Authorities Act to allow for biodiversity offsetting. Developers see the current Act as a stumbling block for development.

Be sure to give your input to the Government of Ontario on the review of the Conservation Authorities Act by September 09, 2016 to mnrwaterpolicy@ontario.ca .

Sandra O’Connor is  a resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Ontario. In her varied career she has worked at a Conservation Authority (not NPCA), the Ministry of Natural Resources, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Canadian Institute of Geomatics, among other positions. With a background in geography, environmental studies and urban planning, she is a public activist interested in the environment and her community.

NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.

Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

 

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3 responses to “The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Has NO AUTHORITY To Destroy Wetlands

  1. Well done. Note that the battle to stop this off-putting offsetting scheme is not yet won. The provincial consultations to change various laws continue until December 2016

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  2. I have always been of an opinion that many of the elected peoples in the Niagara Region, including the NPCA are literally bought and substantially owned by “CORPORATE” elements that have no regard for the environmental preservation of the Niagara Region.
    This is why as a tax payer I support the call for an AUDIT of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and I am disgusted with the Niagara Region’s elected so called representatives of the People. My question is now “WHAT PEOPLE do they represent?”

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  3. Gail Benjafield

    It has become painfully obvious to so many electors in Niagara Region, not just environmentalists, or indigenous peoples, those in rural areas,, heritage volunteers, but to many others that the NPCA needs a huge overhaul, not just an audit. The sinecures on staff and on the board are so burdened with partisan players …. but all the protests seem to fall on the deaf ears of those we elected.

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