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CTV: Protestors demand transparency from NVCA board of directors

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In About Us
Aug 22nd, 2014
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By Roger Klein CTV News Barrie

There was boisterous protest outside the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority’s board of directors meeting in Essa Township.

Protestors say the public isn’t getting important information about how big environmental decisions are made.

At issue, a consultants audit on how to make the conservation authority more efficient when it comes to protecting water quality and overseeing development in the region.

“We are seeing weed and algae growing in the lower levels and that says the pressures that are occurring need to be addressed,” said Gary Christie, president of the Nottawasaga Steelheaders.

The consultants made 26 recommendations including reorganizing staff, outsourcing work and adopting a solution finding approach for developers and municipalities. There are two recommendations that are still confidential.

Mono Township councillor Fred Nix is concerned the board is being asked to step over its own powers and undermine the conservation authority’s ability to do its job.

“This board cannot with a majority vote override provincial legislation,” said Nix.

Outside the board meeting members of Aware Simcoe, The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust, and Midhurst Rate Payers Association were all critical that too much of the decision making process has taken place behind closed doors.

“They are basically looking for transparency and accountability,” said Wasaga Beach municipal candidate Gary Ceratola. He argues the public should know what’s at stake. “They want it open to the public so they can measure the implications of what’s going on,” he said.

Following a rigorous debate, the board of directors decided each board member would take the recommendations back to their respective town councils for consideration before any decisions are made.

“They did engage in serious discussion, it democracy at work and we are happy with the way it turned out,” said Kate Harries from AWARE Simcoe, who is satisfied with the outcome.

There is only one board meeting scheduled before October’s municipal election and it’s unclear how many of the consultants recommendations might be adopted.

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