(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Conservation authorities surprised by provincial demands

A letter that was sent out to all of the conservation authorities in the province by the Environment Minister last Friday has generated a considerable reaction from conservation officials.

The letter directed conservation authorities to refocus their efforts on the delivery of programs and services related to their core mandate.

Ian Wilcox, the general manager of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, said if the goal was to save money for the province, it won’t work because the province doesn’t fund anything that isn’t considered core programming.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority General Manager Brian Horner said, “the letter referred to mandatory core programs, but in the CA Act right now, there is one that’s called other programs or services as prescribed by regulation. And that’s still being discussed. We don’t actually know what that one is. We won’t really know what those other programs are.”

Horner┬ásaid if that refers to things like tree planting or education programs, they’re not currently funded by the province either.

Horner added he will be getting input from their member municipalities.