Ramara mayor: ‘We no longer need (LSRCA) to protect Lake Simcoe’
Ramara Township wants to be able to opt out of conservation authority services; ‘Quite frankly, most of what (they do) we have the staff to do it’
By: Jessica Owen Orillia Today
Ramara Township is looking to opt out of the services the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority provides and, earlier this week, they brought a resolution to the county council table for other municipalities to be allowed to follow suit.
A resolution passed in October at the Ramara Township council table outlined the municipality’s position on conservation authorities; the township believes they are duplicative, financially unaccountable and in conflict with citizens and private property rights.
The resolution outlined the difficulties the township has faced in challenging the levy the conservation authority “forces” on municipalities, and questions the efficiency of programs and services the conservation authority provides.
“This is something we put a lot of thought into,” said Ramara Township Mayor Basil Clarke at the county meeting on Wednesday.
“When we first joined the conservation authority, we didn’t have the expertise in-house to manage flood plain mapping and to look after the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, but since then, we do all the same services for both Lake Couchiching, Lake St. John, Lake Dalrymple, and Lake Simcoe, but then we have to send it off to the conservation authority to do the exact same thing,” said Clarke.
In 2018, Ramara Township paid $42,213 to the conservation authority.
Clarke added that the township now has the expertise on staff to deal with conservation.
“Quite frankly, most of what the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority – (probably) 95 per cent of what they’re doing – we have the staff to do it. We no longer need them to protect Lake Simcoe and to protect the watershed,” he said.
Ramara passed the resolution in October expressing a desire to participate in consultations concerning the future of conservation authorities province-wide, and requesting an exit clause be added to any new Conservation Authorities Act for any municipality that can prove and show they can provide the same services at the municipal level, which was forwarded to Jeff Yurek, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks.
On Wednesday at the county level, the item was received for information.