I won’t resign – NVCA chair Watson
Wasaga Beach Councillor and NVCA Chair George Watson
AWARE News Network
Wasaga Beach Councillor George Watson has written to members of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority board to say he does not intend to step down as chair.
Watson says he has worked “diligently and tirelessly” as the head of the NVCA since elected in January.
“At all times while carrying out my duties, I have performed with integrity and honour while striving to advance the interests of the Authority, ” he states in a July 8 2019 letter to members of the NVCA board.
In May, Watson voted in favour of a Wasaga Beach submission to the provincial government that included a call for the dissolution of the NVCA and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.
In a June 28 presentation to the board on the importance of the watershed management provided by the conservation authorities, AWARE Simcoe members Sandy Agnew and Kate Harries questioned whether the NVCA chair can provide effective leadership if he is working towards ending the organization’s functions.
Several members of the NVCA board expressed dismay at Watson’s stance and Mono Councillor Fred Nix put forward a motion calling for his resignation. It was not voted upon in open session.
In his letter, Watson states that the town is not alone in calling for change to conservation authorities, citing submissions from Simcoe County and Conservation Ontario.
He adds: “Whether the Government of Ontario wishes to implement the town’s position is up to Premier Doug Ford and his government.”
He writes that he has reviewed the Conservation Authorities Act and can find no grounds for him to resign as chair.
He expresses disappointment at the “unprofessional manner” with which some board members treated him at the June 24 meeting, claiming that discussion of his role was improper as it was not on the agenda.
He takes exception to the use of the word “unseemly” by one board member (Collingwood Councillor Mariane McLeod) in describing his behaviour and writes that he plans to ask the Ontario Ombudsman whether he has grounds for complaint about the nature of the meeting and comments that were made.