Council brought up to date on SNCA activities

·2 min read

WINCHSTER – Bill Smirle, the municipality’s representative on the board of the South Nation Conservation Authority, (SNCA) delivered the organization’s annual report to councillors at their March 23 council meeting.

He mentioned that the Conservation Act has had some changes approved. One of them may affect how North Dundas selects a representative for the SNCA board.

Representation on the board is now handled by sending an appointed community member or sending an elected councillor.

Smirle said, “The new direction is that all board members should be elected, although it is necessary to have only up to 70 per cent of the board as elected councillors.

Currently, the board has “eight elected members and four community members on the board. Ottawa appoints four representatives, two elected,

and two community; Leeds Grenville has two, one elected and one

community; SD&G has three, two elected and one community.”

“As well, I am currently filling two positions,” said Smirle; he serves as past chair on the board as well as the North Dundas representative. “I only get one vote,” he said.

He mentioned the Federal Tree Program which pays $1.41 per seedling, and that means that about 90 per cent of the costs are recovered.

“In 2020 we planted 141,000 seedlings. Our objective for 2021 was to plant

200,000. To date we have had orders for 229,000,” he said.

Another topic from the report was the Natural Heritage Study being developed as a joint project with Stormont Dundas and Glengarry and Prescott Russell and coordinated by SNCA.

The study is, “the first one involving two municipalities in Ontario – and is considered by the province to be an example to be followed.”

The study will identify core natural heritage areas and corridors between

them that will impact communities and natural areas.

Smirle said, “The final summary of information will be important as there will be a written report for each upper tier municipality and the municipalities in each; and will include many maps. This information can and will be used and will be most helpful as municipalities update their Official Plans.”

At the local level, SNAC have plans to do major work on the Chesterville dam. The dam is the largest water/river structure on the South Nation.

“Over the past two years, it has received major work and dollars. Again this

year there is a planned expenditure of about $80,000 to replace and update the “log lifters,” said Smirle.

Joseph Morin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chesterville Record