Feb 13, 2017 (WELLAND, ON) - Sandy Annunziata, Chair of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) Board of Directors today announced the official position of the organization regarding the development of Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSW).
Wetlands in Ontario are evaluated and ranked by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to determine whether a 'provincially significant' designation is required. Under the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), interference and site alteration of a PSW is not permitted.
"Let me be clear, there are no less than 18 provincial instruments that facilitate wetland conservation in Ontario," stated Annunziata. "The language is very clear and will be respected. The Provincial Policy Statement is unequivocal in its interpretation, 'development and site alteration shall not be permitted in significant wetlands.' On behalf of our mandate to further conservation, restoration, development, and management of the watershed, we will not compromise our efforts to comply with current policies and legislation. We will continue to listen to our partners, manage their expectations, and do so exclusively within the language of the various provincial policies we adhere to."
The NPCA reviews and provides comment on planning applications based on the Region of Niagara's Official Plan and NPCA regulations as it relates to natural features. The intent is to not only provide regulation of natural features but to protect people and their property from the effects of flooding and erosion while maintaining and improving water quality.
"The MNRF have been very clear on this issue," added Annunziata. "All checks and balances will be applied in every development application the NPCA receives. The legislation does not allow for exemptions concerning PSWs".
Conservation Authorities, created in 1946 by an Act of the Provincial Legislature, are mandated to further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources through programs that balance human, environmental and economic needs. The NPCA was established on April 30, 1959, under the Conservation Authorities Act, and serves approximately half a million people in the Niagara Peninsula Watershed, encompassing the entire Niagara Region and portions of the City of Hamilton and Haldimand County. The NPCA manages the impact of human activities, urban growth, and rural activities on the watershed.