Municipality calls Bill 6
just a duplication of services
By Liz Dadson
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Bill 6, the Great Lakes Protection Act, is just a duplication of services, says the Municipality of Kincardine.
The proposed provincial legislation was discussed by Kincardine council in committee-of-the-whole Wednesday night (March 12).
Referring to a letter from Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, council agreed that Bill 6 raises some serious questions about duplication of governance, the absence of any consideration of economic or social impacts, the appointment of Guardians' Councils with the power to create regulations and set priorities, fees for violations, and the potential for further erosion in the power of local planning authorities.
Introduced by Ontario environment minister Jim Bradley last year, Bill 6 is currently before the standing committee on regulations and private bills.
In her letter, Thompson states that the Progressive Conservative (PC) party has recommended a less-intrusive approach by supporting the existing framework to protect water quality, and establishing a meaningful partnership with the private sector to develop new technologies to remediate areas of concern.
Kincardine council agrees.
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said the province should consider re-instating full funding to conservation authorities which already do much of what is proposed in this legislation.
"The problem is that the conservation authorities lost funding so they are unable to do the work to improve the watersheds," she said. "Now, it's left up to volunteers to do the work and go after funding."
She said that led to the creation of the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation which concentrates on improvements along the Lake Huron shoreline.
"I'm leery of creating another layer of bureaucracy which this legislation does," said Eadie. "If this Bill brings us money, great. Otherwise, I do not support it."
"It's just more bureaucracy but no resources," said mayor Larry Kraemer.
"We already have a wonderful system of conservation authorities in Ontario," said Eadie. "Restore funding to them and flow the money through the existing structure."
"This gets in the way of our ability to be stewards of our own shoreline," said councillor Ron Coristine. "We need to send a strongly-worded letter of opposition."
"A lot of educated organizations are supporting this Bill," said councillor Jacqueline Faubert," but you need to read between the lines."
Committee-of-the-whole directed staff to draft a letter urging the provinces to use the system of conservation authorities which is already in existence, instead of the proposed Bill 6 legislation. That letter will come before council at the March 19 meeting.
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Sunday, March 16, 2014