• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

NVCA staff to report on third-party review

In Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority
Nov 5th, 2009

Essa mayor says he’ll still pursue independent assessment
By Matthew Talbot Alliston Herald
The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) is considering its own third-party review, an internal audit that would look at planning and fee policies.
While members of the NVCA’s board of directors say this audit should address some of what Essa is looking for in its call for a review of the conservation authority, Essa Mayor David Guergis said he will still be pursuing an independent assessment. “I think it’s great if they want to do their own review, but we need to do our own independent review to get the answers to our questions,” he said.
Last month Guergis dropped a motion to dissolve the NVCA outright in favour of a third-party review of the organization.
At an Oct. 9 board of directors meeting, NVCA board member Mary Brett tabled a resolution asking staff for a report.
She said the report would describe what a third-party review of planning would do, how long it would take and how much it would cost. It would also detail the impact of a similar review at the Town of Wasaga Beach.
Brett said the Wasaga review did a lot for that municipality, according to its mayor, Cal Patterson.
“Like all organizations, (the NVCA is) human based. If there’s a better way of doing something, maybe we could look at the internal structure,” she said.
She said there has been concern about the NVCA’s fee structure, and hopes an internally commissioned independent review would explore that.
“Essa’s calling for a comprehensive one, but (the NVCA’s) would possibly address the same issues,” she said.
NVCA board chair Walter Benotto said nobody is opposed to a third-party review.
However, he said the NVCA needs to determine a cost.
“Our budget is extremely tight. We need to know where we’re going to get the money to pay for this,” he said of an NVCA-commissioned review.
“This is something the NVCA is looking to take on, on its own. I don’t think it’s that far out from what (Essa’s) calling for.”
Benotto said he is sure Essa would get behind the NVCA’s review, judging by the supportive comments from Essa deputy mayor Terry Dowdall at the Oct. 9 board meeting. Dowdall also sits on the NVCA board.
Benotto said the NVCA was now waiting for the report from staff.
Meanwhile, Guergis said he will still push his council and other municipal councils to pursue their own review of the conservation authority.
“I know what I’d be looking for, and I think it’d probably be a little different than what the NVCA would be looking for,” Guergis said.


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