Niagara Region’s Council Votes to Support Conservation Authorities Against Assault from Province

A Brief News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln Regional Councillor and NPCA board member Robert Foster

Thank You Lincoln Regional Councillor Robert Foster!

And Thank You also to Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson.

This November 19th, at a meeting of the whole Niagara Regional Council, Foster tabled and Huson seconded a motion asking the Region’s Chair, Jim Bradley, to send a letter to Ontario’s Ford Government, urging it to eliminate a clause – already known infamously to many across the province as Clause 6 or ‘Schedule 6’ – that would go a long way toward eliminating the role of Conservation Authorities in such areas as flood management and commenting on development plans that might impact negatively on our natural heritage.

“Conservation Authorities across Ontario are up in arms,” said Foster, who also serves on the board of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). “I think that we (members of Niagara Regional Council should be as well.”

Pelham Regional Councillor and NPCA board member Diana Huson

“I am very alarmed by the changes,” added Huson, who also holds a seat on the NPCA board. “These changes (as proposed in the clause embedded in the Ford government’s 2020 Budget bill) will roll back the progress for the last 40 years for Conservation Authorities.”

Following their words, other regional councillors protested what the Ford government is attempting to do after so much work has been put into rebuilding the NPCA over the past two years, after several years of the body going through turmoil at the hands of previous board members and administrators.

A strong majority of regional councillors then voted in favour of the Region’s Chair, Jim Bradley, sending a letter of opposition to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and some of his cabinet ministers.

Among the very few who voted against Foster’s motion for a letter of concern were Niagara Falls regional councillors Bob Gale and Peter Nicholson, and Pelham Mayor and regional councillor Marvin Junkin.

Earlier this November 19th, the NPCA’s board of directors held a meeting where they also voted to send a letter of opposition to the Ford government.

To watch a portion of that NPCA meeting, including some strong opening comments from Brad Clark, who also serves on Hamilton’s City Council and who once served as a Conservative Party MPP and a cabinet minister in the former Conservative government of Mike Harris, click on the screen immediately below –

Niagara At Large will post Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley’s letter to the Ford government when it is available.

By the way, Bradley also deserves a thank you for allowing Foster and Huson’s motion to be tabled on such short notice.

Given how quickly Ford is moving ahead with final approval of his government’s 2020 budget – it has already passed second reading, and third and final reading may come within a matter of days – time to get the word out that many disapprove of plans to gut our Conservation Authorities is of the essence.

Niagara Falls Regional Councillor Peter Nicholson

And two thumbs down to Niagara Falls Regional Councillor Peter Nicholson, who questioned whether the motion should be tabled and dealt with on such short notice, and for noting that he had not yet had time to review the issue.

My response to that is that this issue has been a pot boiler across on Ontario since the Ford government included it in its budget two weeks ago and numerous other muncipal leaders, public interest groups and individual citizens across the province have already studied it and expressed their concerns.

I would suggest to Nicholson that it is his job, as a municipal leader, to be familiar with key issues – particularly ones that can have such a significant impact on one of the Region’s partner agencies (in this case the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority) – before he attends a regional council meeting.

Keeping abreast of issues of concern to the governance of our region and of such obvious interest and concern to its citizens is your job, sir. Do it!

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

For more on this issue, click on the following links –

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/12/ontarios-ford-government-is-moving-to-gut-conservation-authorities/ .

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/10/ford-governments-changes-to-conservation-authorities-act-trigger-red-flags-for-conservation-ontario/ .

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/14/changes-to-ontarios-conservation-authority-act-will-impact-npca-watershed-protection-programs-in-niagara/

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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