Local leaders ask province to reverse course on changes to conservation authorities

A Guelph MPP and the mayor of Cambridge are asking the province to reverse course on a proposal they said would put Ontario at higher risk of flood damage.

Mike Schreiner met with Mayor Kathryn McGarry in downtown Cambridge Saturday afternoon to urge the Ford government to cancel the possible changes to the Conservation Authorities Act.

The Grand River Conservation Authority held a special emergency meeting last Monday in regards to the new provincial bill that could take away their authority for watershed management and move it to the municipalities.

“Protecting our drinking water, protecting our lives and property from flooding is worth the bargain basement price investments we’re making in conservation authorities,” said Schreiner, who is also the Ontario Green Party leader.

The chair of the GRCA says that removing their oversight could mean long-term environmental damage.

McGarry, who is also a GRCA board member, echoed that sentiment during her speech.

“These are the things that we really depend on our conservation authorities for in order to help manage the watershed as a whole,” she said.

If the bill moves forward, the final reading must happen no later than Dec. 7.