Windsor/Essex – The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) has passed its 2020 budget and confirmed the broad array of programs and services they will continue to provide to improve environmental sustainability, mitigate the impacts of flooding and take action against climate change.
The 2020 Budget totals $10,576,317, which includes a levy contribution of $3,386,667. This represents an increase of $148,000, or $0.49 per person ($10.00 to $10.49 per person), though the actual cost per household ($250,000) decreased by $0.12 to $19.57. This levy increase is primarily to offset reductions in provincial funding for Flood Forecasting ($98,000).
“With changes to government priorities and associated funding cuts, this budget is only enough to maintain the status quo, despite significant increases in demands for permits and plan review, conservation area visitation and use of the greenways, and pressures related to flood response,” explained Richard Wyma, ERCA’s General Manager. “While we need to do more to improve the health of our watersheds, deal more effectively with phosphorous and blue-green algae in our lakes, restore more wetlands, forests and habitats, and take action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, this budget reflects and respects the fiscal realities of our municipal partners.”
There are many environmental programs planned for the year, including:
- coordinating a regional Hazard Mapping/Risk Assessment scoping program
- working with partners to develop short- and long-term plans to address the existing and expected impacts to our region as a result of current and future water levels, flood and erosion hazards, and climate change
- completing road and facilities improvements, creating a new wetland and single track cycling trail Holiday Beach , in partnership with the Amherstburg Community Foundation
- Construct new Heritage Centre and shoreline protection at the John R. Park Homestead.
- Scale up the pilot Indigenous Education Program to all school boards in partnership with local First Nations ,
- Expand water quality monitoring program and initiate a new partnership with Agriculture Canada as part of Canada’s Living Lab program
- Develop and implement over 50 nutrient and soil health projects with the farming community.
- Host a workshop series for stakeholders on a variety of climate adaptation and mitigation projects
- Initiate County-wide Municipal Energy Plan
“The expertise that ERCA provides is a cost effective way to manage regional environmental priorities, improve our environmental sustainability and resilience to the impacts of our changing climate,” says Kieran McKenzie, Chair.
Since 1973, ERCA has been enriching and sustaining the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region as the Place for Life.