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Friday February 15th, 2013

Posted at 11:00am

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A new washroom at Holiday Beach, upgrades to the John R. Park Homestead, continued development of the Essex to Amherstburg Greenway and improved accessibility of the Chrysler Canada Greenway are just a couple of projects in ERCA’s proposed 2013 budget.

“This budget addresses the Five Year Sustainability Plan: The Way Forward, and the objectives of our 2011 – 2016 Strategic Plan,” explained Richard Wyma, ERCA’s General Manager. “It further responds to ongoing budget pressures related to historic underfunding of levy for operations, decades of special project funding that historically subsidized core programs, significant capital infrastructure needs and a lack of reserve funding.”

A significant departmental restructuring reducing ERCA’s management team from seven members to four earlier this year, aloud for cost savings to be been invested in key program areas.

As well, Holiday Beach Conservation Area will shift to a focus on day use, seasonal camping, research and related programs until some much needed capital improvements are completed to support transient camping, which will be suspended for this year.

ERCA’s proposed budget total $7.6 million dollars. $2.7 million is the proposed levy contribution from member municipalities, a requested increase totaling just $44,000, or 11 cents per household. “ERCA’s proposed budget respects the pressures that municipalities face in limiting tax increases, while at the same time recognizing the important and pressing needs of our regional environment,” Wyma added.

Among the hundreds of important environmental projects and programs included in this year’s budget are restoring 90 acres of land and planting 165,000 trees, preparing a regional watershed report card, restoring 100 metres of the Detroit River shoreline and creating additional spawning habitat for Lake Sturgeon.

Once the proposed budget has been reviewed by each municipality, it will be voted upon in April.

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