Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority responds to More Homes Built Faster Act
Proposed changes will jeopardize goal to protect lives and properties from natural hazards: NVCA
The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) has released a statement in response to Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, tabled in the Ontario legislature on Oct. 25.
While the bill aims to reduce development planning process and fees to address housing affordability issues across the province, the NVCA said some of the proposed changes will jeopardize the province’s goal to protect lives and properties from natural hazards, result in longer response times and increase costs to homes.
“The NVCA board of directors agree that there is a housing and affordability issue in the Nottawasaga watershed and across the province, and we’re fully supportive of the province to build 1.5 million homes,” said Mariane McLeod, chair of the NVCA board of directors. “In building these homes, we continue to look towards our local conservation authority to keep our residents’ lives and properties protected from natural hazards such as flooding and erosion. One way to do that is to allow wetlands to do their job — flood control, water filtering, groundwater recharge and discharge and provide wildlife habitat.”
Wetlands are natural areas that absorb and slow floodwaters when there is a lot of rain or snowmelt, which helps to alleviate property damage and can even save lives. In the face of climate change, said the NVCA, these wetlands are ever more important as we experience more extreme storm events.
Under the current wetland evaluation system, the Nottawasaga watershed is home to the internationally significant Minesing Wetlands, 33 provincially significant wetlands (PSW), 34 important but non-provincially significant wetlands, and several of the unevaluated wetlands that would likely become provincially significant if they were evaluated. If the new legislation is passed, the evaluation score of the Minesing Wetlands will be greatly diminished, and many wetlands, including the Mad River portion of the complex, will not meet PSW status.