Province cuts NVCA flood management program funds
Like other conservation authorities in Ontario, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is facing funding cuts.
CAO Doug Hevenor said the NVCA’s funding for its flood management programs has been reduced 50 per cent from $188,490, the same amount of provincial funding it has received for its flood program since 1995.
“Cuts come at a time when climate change is increasing the frequency and risks from flooding and other weather-related natural disasters,” said Hevenor. “Flooding is the most common natural disaster in Canada, and the costs associated with flooding are rising.”
To address this shortfall, NVCA will be looking at reducing all non-critical program spending, as well as trying to source alternative funding.
Prior to this reduction a total of $7.4 million in provincial funding was shared across the 36 conservation authorities (CA) towards this work.
“The impacts of these reductions will vary from CA to CA, however, they will all be felt immediately, particularly in smaller and more rural conservation authorities,” said Conservation Ontario general manager Kim Gavine.
Gavine explained that cutting natural hazards funding is particularly problematic right now in light of the fact that – like everywhere else – Ontario is experiencing stronger and more frequent flood events as a result of climate change impacts. Conservation Authorities have a variety of responsibilities around flood management in Ontario.
The NVCA’s mandate is to undertake watershed-based programs that protect people and property from flooding and other natural hazards. The flood program uses an integrated approach that focuses on preventing and reducing flood risks.
It plays plays a frontline role in monitoring the watershed for flood risk and issuing flood warning messages by maintaining a network of stream gauges, monitor weather conditions and survey the winter snowpack.
The NVCA also maintains flood control structures such as dams and dikes; Contributes to municipal emergency planning and preparedness activities; Does floodplain mapping; provides planning support and advice to the province, municipalities and the federal government to minimize flood impacts; Regulates development activities in floodplains; Contributes to municipal emergency planning and preparedness activities as well as recovery activities; Informs and educates the public about flooding; and protects, restores and rehabilitates natural cover that contributes to reducing the impacts of flooding.