ERCA Passes 2020 Budget

Thursday February 13th, 2020

Posted at 8:04pm

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The Essex Region Conservation Authority has passed its 2020 budget totaling $10,576,317, which includes a levy contribution of $3,386,667.

This represents an increase of $148,000, or $0.49 per person ($10.00 to $10.49 per person), though the actual cost per household ($250,000) decreased by $0.12 to $19.57. This levy increase is primarily to offset reductions in provincial funding for Flood Forecasting ($98,000).

“With changes to government priorities and associated funding cuts, this budget is only enough to maintain the status quo, despite significant increases in demands for permits and plan review, conservation area visitation and use of the greenways, and pressures related to flood response,” said Richard Wyma, ERCA’s General Manager. “While we need to do more to improve the health of our watersheds, deal more effectively with phosphorous and blue-green algae in our lakes, restore more wetlands, forests and habitats, and take action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, this budget reflects and respects the fiscal realities of our municipal partners.”

There are many environmental programs planned for the year, including coordinate a regional Hazard Mapping/Risk Assessment scoping program and working with partners to develop short and long-term plans to address the existing and expected impacts to our region as a result of current and future water levels, flood and erosion hazards, and climate change.

Other projects include complete road and facilities improvements, creating a new wetland and single track cycling trail Holiday Beach, in partnership with the Amherstburg Community Foundation, construing a new Heritage Centre and shoreline protection at the John R. Park Homestead and to scale up the pilot Indigenous Education Program to all school boards in partnership with local First Nations.

Expanding water quality monitoring program and initiate a new partnership with Agriculture Canada as part of Canada’s Living Lab program, developing and implement over 50 nutrient and soil health projects with the farming community, hosting a workshop series for stakeholders on a variety of climate adaptation and mitigation projects and initiate a County-wide Municipal Energy Plan are also planned for the coming year.

“The expertise that ERCA provides is a cost-effective way to manage regional environmental priorities, improve our environmental sustainability and resilience to the impacts of our changing climate,” says Kieran McKenzie, Chair.

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