Province forcing SNC and RRCA to stop wetland remapping

EAP Newsroom
Province forcing SNC and RRCA to stop wetland remapping
An image on the SNC website indicates that consultations have been suspended. SNC has decided to suspend its wetland mapping update and regulatory consultations, following an order from the provincial government. Landowners complained that the process had taken them by surprise and that better communication from conservation authorities was needed. (Photo : SNC website)

South Nation Consevation (SNC) and the Raisin River Conservation Authority (RRCA) were forced to end public consultations on their updated wetland mapping and regulations after complaints from residents alerted the Ministry of Natural Resources.

SNC, RRCA, as well as the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, were ordered to put an end to their plans to update their wetland maps in Eastern Ontario by the Ontario government last week.

Landowners, including farmers, were apparently caught off guard by the proposed changes to the conservation authorities newly issued wetlands maps. Conservation authorities have the jurisdiction in their respective areas to designate land as significant wetland and implement measures to protect it.

While the SNC and RRCA held public consultations, according to reports from the CBC, landowners were not made aware of the open houses held across the region in June. SNC’s website lists open house events were set to be held on June 26 and 27 in Manotick and Finch, respectively, but have been cancelled after the province stepped in.

Wetland designations can ultimately impact what can be developed on a property. New Ontario regulations implemented in April require conservation authorities to prohibit development within 30 metres of all wetlands, a change from previous regulations that only included a 120 metre buffer zone for what was considered ‘provincially significant’ wetlands.

In a note on their webpage, SNC indicated it was “pausing consultation” on its updated wetland mapping and that they “appreciate the feedback and comments [they] received to-date.’’

“Over the coming months, the conservation authorities will work with ministry staff, municipalities, and stakeholders to develop this local approach. Please note that this means that open houses and one-on-one meetings with property owners will be paused and rescheduled at a later date,” reads the statement.

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