NVCA plans key technical and policy updates
New release from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority
Watershed management services staff presented an overview of three key technical and policy updates expected to go before the board in 2019.
· Regulation Mapping Update – NVCA GIS staff recently completed an exercise to further refine the Regulation Limit. This limit sets the area over which NVCA has regulatory jurisdiction. As a result of the refinement, a modest decrease in the area regulated by NVCA is anticipated. Following a protocol established by Conservation Ontario, NVCA will consult with watershed municipalities about the proposed changes and undertake a public consultation process. This consultation will occur during the first and second quarters of 2019, after which the revised mapping will go before the board for approval.
· Ecological Net Gains Policy – Balancing development with the protection of natural heritage features often poses a challenge when development calls for the removal of these features to accommodate growth and intensification. To address this challenge, several conservation authorities have developed policies calling for compensation or offsetting for the loss of natural assets. Such policies promote an approach to ensure “no net loss,” and are structured to promote overall “net gains” of natural features on the landscape.
In keeping with this principle, staff are preparing draft guidelines that aim to ensure that every loss of a natural heritage feature in the NVCA watershed is met with an equal or greater gain in value and function. The ecological net gains policy is expected to go to the board for their consideration during the first quarter of 2019.
· Planning and Regulations Fee Review – Staff will review NVCA’s planning and regulation fees and propose updates to the board in the second quarter of 2019. The review process will consider issues such as inflation, emerging matters such as increased pre-consultation review, the fees of adjacent conservation authorities, provincial guidelines and stakeholder input.
During their meeting, the board also:
· Received a summary of the permits and approvals issued by staff between June 8 and Dec. 1, 2018. During that time, staff issued 304 permits and approved 113 clearances. Year-to-date, staff have approved 405 permits and 209 clearances. In the majority of instances (90%), staff have issued permits and clearances within the prescribed timelines as outlined by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
· Approved the allocation of surplus operating funds from the 2018 fiscal year to NVCA’s reserves.
Future Meetings and Events
· NVCA 101: Municipal Council Orientation Sessions
NVCA is offering orientation sessions for all municipal councillors in the watershed. Councillors are invited to come out and learn more about the authority and services we offer, and to have any questions answered.
Sessions run 9:00 am to 12;00 pm.
o January 21: Midhurst Community Centre – Municipal council orientation for Oro-Medonte, Springwater and Wasaga Beach
o January 22: Centre Dufferin Recreation Centre – Municipal council orientation for Amaranth, Melancthon, Mono, Mulmur and Shelburne
o January 31: Nottawa Hall – Municipal council orientation for The Blue Mountains, Clearview, Collingwood and Grey Highlands
o February 1: Tiffin Centre for Conservation – Municipal council orientation for Adjala-Tosorontio, Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Essa, Innisfil and New Tecumseth, as well as others unable to attend their regional meeting.