NDP blaming cuts to conservation authorities for flooding

As water levels rise to record highs for Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, NDP members of provincial parliament are blaming the government for recent funding cuts.

In April, the Ford government cut conservation authorities' flood management programs in half. Those programs are responsible for flood warnings, flood response and floodplain management.

"It's a massive step in the wrong direction," said Ian Arthur, NDP critic for the environment.

Arthur said with natural disasters on the rise, cuts to the conservation authority take resources away from flood prevention.

Amy Dodge/CBC

MPP Lisa Gretzky said the flooding southwestern Ontario is experiencing this month is directly related to these funding cuts, calling the work of the conservation authorities "critical."

Climate change issues lost in politics

Tim Byrne, director of watershed management with Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) is concerned the issue of climate change is being dismissed.

Amy Dodge/CBC

"There's always a need for governmental oversight," said Byrne. "There needs to be local and senior levels of funding regularly applied to resource management programs that provide for mapping, provide for hazard lands assessment."

Byrne said the issue is more complex than just funding cuts — but that ERCA did lose $100,000 in budget cuts this year alone.