Category Archives: Credit Valley Conservation

Changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and Planning Act Present Potential Risks to People, Property and the Environment

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) has reviewed the proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and Planning Act released in the provincial budget on November 5.

While we wait for updated regulations under the Conservation Authorities Act to fully understand how the changes are to be implemented, we are encouraged that the act continues to provide for conservation, restoration, source water protection and natural resource management at the watershed level. We also support enhanced transparency and accountability, which represent best practices and the high level of service we provide our partners, stakeholders and watershed residents.

However, the proposed changes would reduce the effectiveness of conservation authorities to protect the natural environment as well as public health and safety. These changes serve to erode our ability to manage lands containing natural hazards and wetlands, build flood resilience in the face of climate change and preserve critical natural features. CVC’s key concerns are:

  1. Proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act would authorize the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to issue an order to take over and decide a development permit application in place of a conservation authority. Additionally, a permit applicant can request that the Minister review a conservation authority’s decision about a permit application (approved with conditions or denied), at which point the Minister can make any decision, including issuing a permit.
     
    CVC and all Ontario conservation authorities are science-based, non-partisan public sector organizations that review permit applications consistently through the requirements set forth under section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act. Granting permitting authority to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry would take science out of the equation, effectively politicizing the permitting process and allowing for development that may be considered unsafe or damaging to the natural environment.
     
    Conservation authorities regulate lands containing natural hazards and wetlands at the watershed level because natural systems cross municipal and property boundaries. Questionable development decisions can have significant and lasting impacts to a property, adjacent properties and downstream communities.
  1. Proposed changes would remove the un-proclaimed provision for conservation authorities to issue stop work orders, a new tool in our enforcement toolbox that we had long requested from the province. This tool will provide the ability to stop significant threats to life, property and environmentally sensitive areas before having to resort to costly fines and prosecution.
  1. The CVC board acts on behalf of the watershed and its residents to ensure good corporate operations and management. Proposed changes would direct board members to act only on behalf of the municipality they represent rather than on behalf of the watershed and its residents. This is contrary to proper board governance and contradicts recent recommendations by Ontario’s Auditor General.
  1. Consequential changes to the Planning Act would bar conservation authorities from appealing a municipal planning decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), unless requested through an agreement with the municipality or the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. This tool is a necessary but seldom used tool in our toolbox.
     
    This change would also remove our right to appeal planning decisions as a landowner. This is of significant concern as CVC owns and manages over 7,000 acres of land for habitat protection, community recreation and flood hazard management.

Since 1956, Ontario’s conservation authorities have defined and defended the floodplains to ensure public safety and property protection, often on behalf of our municipal partners, using a variety of tools present in the Conservation Authorities Act and Planning Act. Removing some of these tools from our toolbox may allow individuals to circumvent checks and balances that exist to ensure the safe development of communities and the protection of sensitive environmental features.

We encourage our municipal partners, watershed residents and our network of supporters to reach out to the Premier, the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, as well as local MPPs over the next week to ask that they address the concerns outlined above before the bill is enacted.

About Credit Valley Conservation:

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is a local conservation authority established by the Ontario government in 1954 to protect, restore and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River Watershed. Our watershed is defined by the area of land where all rainfall, snowmelt and runoff drains into lands and waters flowing into the Credit River. CVC creates connections between people and nature, knowledge and action. We inspire a deep appreciation for the role of nature in keeping people connected, healthy and happy. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.

WATERSHED CONDITIONS Flood Outlook Statement Update


Forecast from the Surface Water Monitoring Centre of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is advising significant amounts of rain for Southern Ontario over the next several days.  

Friday’s storm system tracked further south resulting in smaller volume of rain, the Credit River watershed received between 6 to 12mm of rain yesterday. Current water levels remain below bankful. Various weather forecasts are predicting rainfall amounts from 95 to upwards of 150mm starting late Sunday into Tuesday afternoon.

Based on the maximum rainfall amounts, some low-lying areas along the Credit River may experience flooding by early Monday morning. All streams, rivers, and shorelines could become dangerous, especially in the vicinity of culverts, bridges and dams. People should be warned to stay away from all watercourses and shorelines, especially children and pets.

CVC will continue to closely monitor weather and water levels in the watershed. The Watershed Conditions Statement for Flood Outlook will be in effect throughThurs-May-21-2020, or until further notice.

To view current watershed conditions, please visit our real-time monitoring website: 

Flood Outlook Statement

The Surface Water Monitoring Centre of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is forecasting significant amounts of rain through the Victoria Day weekend for Southern Ontario starting later this morning. Locally upwards of 15mm of rain may fall between 9 and 11am with possible thunderstorms for Friday. No rain expected for Saturday. An additional 35, 15 and 10mm is forecasted for Sunday, Victoria Day and Tuesday.

Heavy downpour associated with thunderstorms may result in flooding of urbanized areas.  Flooding along the Credit River is not expected on Friday. However, water levels may remain high as the additional rain move in starting on Sunday. Based on the current forecast, some low-lying areas along the Credit River may experience flooding starting early Sunday.

East to west winds and storm surge may result in onshore waves starting Saturday through to Tuesday. Flooding and erosion along the Lake Ontario shoreline may occur.  

Local streams, rivers, and shorelines remain dangerous, especially in the vicinity of culverts, bridges and dams. People should be warned to stay away from all watercourses and shorelines, especially children and pets.

CVC will continue to closely monitor weather and water levels in the watershed. The Watershed Conditions Statement for Flood Outlook will be in effect through Wed-May-20-2020, or until further notice.

To view current watershed conditions, please visit our real-time monitoring website: 

CVC Conservation Areas and Trails Remain Closed Pending Phased Reopening

MISSISSAUGA (May 10, 2020) – Yesterday, May 9, the Province of Ontario announced the reopening of provincial parks and provincial conservation reserves beginning May 11. Provincial conservation reserves are not the same as conservation areas. The province’s announcement does not apply to conservation areas, which are owned by conservation authorities. Credit Valley Conservation’s (CVC’s) conservation areas and trails remain closed until further notice.

CVC is now initiating a planned, phased reopening of most of its trails. A number of critical steps need to take place before visitors can once again enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature at CVC properties. As such, CVC’s conservation areas and trails will not be reopening on May 11.

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