Essex Region – The Essex Region Conservation Authority confirmed its priority projects and programs to create a healthier and more sustainable environment for 2018 as it unanimously passed its annual budget on February 15. Initiating a regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, improving floodline mapping in response to a changing climate, creating over 100 acres of new habitat including an innovative wetland project and continuing to tackle phosphorus loadings in Lake Erie are just a few of the projects it has planned for the coming year.
“A robust suite of high priority projects and programs to protect and restore the natural environment of the region will be undertaken,” said Richard Wyma, ERCA’s general manager. “These include programs to increase habitat and forest cover, maintain and expand conservation areas and trails, aid our member municipalities in protecting people and infrastructure from the dangers of flooding and erosion particularly in the era of a changing climate, and to provide meaningful education and engagement opportunities for our residents.”
The 2018 Budget totals $9,271,600, which includes a proposed levy contribution of $3,148,752. This represents an increase of $101,019, or $0.09 per household. Of that, $51k is allocated for operations, and $50k for future asset replacement. This levy funds less than 30% of its operations, placing ERCA in the bottom five of all Conservation Authorities, and well below the provincial average (approx. 45%).
“ERCA is unlike any other Agency, Board or Commission in that it generates tremendous revenue for the region,” Wyma adds. “Between 2007 and 2017, ERCA received $26.5 million in total levy contributions, and generated $35 million in new outside funding to the region in support of regional environmental programs and projects. This is in addition to the significant value of ERCA’s programs and services it provides to municipalities.”
“The knowledge and skills that ERCA provides is a cost effective way to manage regional environmental priorities,” added Chair and Amherstburg Councillor Rick Fryer. “Without the technical expertise that ERCA is able to offer from a regional perspective, each municipality would have to fund this expertise on its own. This relatively small contribution is an excellent investment in ensuring that our region is the Place for Life.”
For more than four decades, Essex Region Conservation has been sustaining and enriching the environment of the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region to ensure it is the Place for Life.