Provincial wetland policies

The Federation of Citizens’ Associations, of which the Greenspace Alliance is a member, is in turn a member of the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods of Ontario (F.U.N.)  Amy Kempster, Treasurer of the Alliance, is on the Executive of F.U.N.

F.U.N. is preparing a report card on the McGuinty government. With regard to Wetland and Flood Plain Policies, Amy (with thanks to Ken McRae for input) suggested:

While the provincial policies can be read as reasonable the lack of staff in the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment has perhaps led to the lack of strong enforcement of these policies.

As well there is presently no government policy or law in Ontario that prevents landowners who have a Provincially Significant Wetland on their property from clear-cutting the wetland. Conservation Authorities are only able to apply their regulation to implement Generic Regulation 97/04 to wetlands that the municipal governments within their jurisdiction will agree to.

The City of Ottawa will only allow the Conservation Authorities to apply their regulation to PSWs that are designated as such in the City’s Official Plan.

The City of Ottawa has ignored the Provincial Policy Statement in relation to 21 PSWs in Goulbourn. The City refuses to carry out an OP Amendment to recognize those wetlands as such in the OP, even though the Ministry of Natural Resources has determined that they are PSWs.

The Ontario government is aware of the City’s non-compliance with the PPS. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has the authority to unilaterally change the City’s OP to recognize those wetlands as PSWs, but to date has failed to do so.