Over 35 Eastern Ontario mayors have endorsed a Conservation Authority letter to the province expressing concerns with provincial Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, which proposes a series of legislative changes that impact Conservation Authorities.
The 10 Eastern Ontario Conservation Authorities sent a joint letter to Premier Doug Ford and relevant cabinet ministers on November 17. The letter outlines six key concerns with the bill and how the changes will negatively impact local development review processes, download new responsibilities to municipalities, increase costs to taxpayers, increase the risk of flooding, erosion and slope failure and damage the local environment.
“The support our letter has received from local mayors reflects the value and importance of Conservation Authority services to their municipality,” says Richard Pilon, Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) General Manager.
“Our letter requests the removal of select amendments from Bill 23 before it is passed. With housing affordability affecting much of Ontario, we understand the government’s target to build 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years; however, it should not come at the expense of protecting people and their properties from natural hazards or protecting natural infrastructure, such as wetlands, which reduce these risks,” adds Pilon.
The letter also calls on the provincial government to reconvene their multi-stakeholder Conservation Authorities Working Group to consider the impacts of the proposed legislative changes. This group can help identify alternative solutions that will increase Ontario’s housing supply without jeopardizing public safety or downloading additional responsibilities to municipalities.
Conservation Authorities are committed to doing their part to help increase Ontario’s housing supply, but it needs to be accomplished through smart, sustainable growth that will not have detrimental impacts down the road.