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Guergis asks for NVCA reforms

In Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority
Oct 22nd, 2009

By Richard Blanchard Innisfil Scope
A motion proposed by Essa mayor Dave Guergis to dissolve the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority never made it to a vote recently.With th
e township council chambers packed with residents, Guergis asked for the motion to be withdrawn.
Instead, he presented a motion which will ask for structural changes to the NVCA, which will meet his concerns about its role in planning, and the costs associated with the three levels of government currently involved in planning approval.
“In my mind, the issue comes to the taxpayer. There is only one taxpayer and with three levels of municipalities involved, planning approval has become very expensive and cumbersome,” said Guergis, after the vote on his new motion. “I have confidence that we can come to a much less costly solution.”
The new motion came after a presentation from the NVCA’s CAO, Wayne Wilson, earlier in the meeting, which presented a proposal for a review of planning between municipalities and the NVCA. Wilson said that the review would look at the conservation authority’s fee schedule, provision of services to ensure no duplication, and prepare a policy to deal with issue resolutions with member municipalities.The policy would see all planning fees collected at one office. The motion asked that the conservation authority charge no fees for planning review.
Councillor Sandie Macdonald told council that the residents should thank Guergis for his initial proposal to dissolve the NVCA and replace it with a less powerful board.
“We should commend Guergis for putting heat onto the conservation authority. We definitely need better lines of communication, particularly in terms of fees,” she said.
NVCA CAO Wilson said he was pleased with the results from the meeting.
“We understand the concerns from the township about planning fees and staff. We’re going to get together on planning,” he said.
Wilson said the debate over the role of the conservation authority has seen a swell of support for its continuation.
“We have received very significant support from not only some of our municipalities, but from many residents,” said Wilson.
“The environment continues to be important and municipalities need to work together.”
Members of the NVCA board voted to allow for the establishment of a ‘Municipal Partnership Streamlining Agreement’ recently.

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