Essex Region Conservation Authority Approves Draft Budget

Saturday February 20th, 2021

Posted at 9:10am

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The Essex Region Conservation Authority has approved its 2021 Draft Budget for circulation to its member municipalities. The budget totals just over $10 million, and includes a levy request of $3,454,619. This is equivalent to $10.75 per person, an increase of 26 cents from 2020.

The budget responds to the changes to Conservation Authorities Act included in Bill 229, which the Authority says has widespread and significant implications for operations and program delivery with provincially-required identification and bifurcation of services into mandatory and non-mandatory categories.

“The proposed 2021 programs and services have been categorized into mandatory and non-mandatory services, based on the information that is currently available and in the absence of detailed Regulations, or further guidance from the Province,” explains Tim Byrne, CAO. “The mandatory programs identified by the Act are quite limited and confined to: risks of natural hazards; conservation and management of lands; Drinking Water Source Protection; and other duties and responsibilities under other legislation.”

The draft budget includes a reallocation of funding from non-mandatory services, using Covid-19-related service and staffing reductions as an opportunity to pivot and redirect levy from outreach/events/communications to mandated functions, primarily in watershed management and corporate services.

Improving business processes, updating IT infrastructure and information systems, completing a floodplain prioritization study, addressing hazards and restoration issues related to high lake levels, significant rainfall events and climate change, restoring over 125 acres of natural habitat, and completing a significant habitat restoration and shoreline protection project on Pêche Island, in partnership with the City of Windsor, are just some of the top priorities ERCA has outlined for 2021.

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