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Flood management funding cut by nearly half for local conservation authority

Conservation authorities across Ontario see funding cuts following 2019 provincial budget
Flood-Landslide Road 2013 KA
Flooding on Landslide Road in September 2013. Ken Armstrong/SooToday

The Sault Ste. Marie Region conservation Authority (SSMRCA) will see funding for its flood managment program nearly cut in half as a result of the 2019 Ontario budget. 

Since 1996, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has provided $131,940 to SSMRCA annually for flood management.

That dollar figure has been reduced to by more than 48 per cent to $68,113 for 2019.  

“The cuts to the Flood Control and Maintenance transfer payment from the province will affect SSMRCA operations,” said SSMRCA General Manager Rhonda Bateman via email Tuesday. “This money is essential for flood forecasting and warning as well as operation and maintenance of the flood control structures including our flood control channels and Fort Creek Dam.”

“We are evaluating the effects of the cuts.”

Last week, Conservation Ontario issued a press release decrying the move to slash flood management funding across all 36 conservation agencies in Ontario.

The release says that prior to the cuts, all conservation authorities in the province shared $7.4 million in provincial funding for flood programs. 

“The impacts of these reductions will vary from CA (conservation authority) to CA, however, they will all be felt immediately, particularly in smaller and more rural conservation authorities.” stated Kim Gavine, general manager of Conservation Ontario in the release. 

The local conservation authority will discuss the funding decrease during Tuesday night's SSMRCA board meeting.  

James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday based in Sault Ste. Marie
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