SOUTH GLENGARRY, Ontario – The Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) has announced that it is ending its relationship with the Cooper Marsh Conservators (CMC).
CMC is a voluntary organization that has assisted in the operation of the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area, which is owned and operated by the RRCA.
At issue, the CMC’s plea against a development project for land adjacent to Cooper Marsh. Run Guo Investments Canada Ltd./Fotenn Planning + Design has asked the Township of South Glengarry to change the zoning of the land it owns just east of Cooper Marsh to allow for 25 campsites.
South Glengarry Township Council approved the zoning at its July 5 meeting. The zoning request was considered by the RRCA, and the RRCA did not oppose the proposal.
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The CMC, however, expressed concerns that such a development so close to the marsh would disrupt the habitat of several species that inhabit the region, in particular the Least Bittern, a bird species, and the Blanding’s Turtle.
The RRCA states that the CMC’s lobbying against the proposed development constitutes political activity, with which the RRCA is prohibited from being affiliated, even indirectly, by the provincial government. Conservation Authorities Act which governs the activities of conservation authorities.
“Over the past several months, the CMC has been involved in political activities which are incompatible with the statutory mandate of the RRCA,” read a statement from the RRCA. “In general, no conservation authority in Ontario can, directly or indirectly, engage in political activities relating to development projects. The role of the RRCA in development projects that fall under its jurisdiction is circumscribed by the Conservation Authorities Act. Any deviation from this clearly defined statutory role exposes the RRCA to legal risks and has a negative impact on its ability to deliver programs and services that promote the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in river basins. from Ontario.
In its statement to the media, the RRCA explained that it has been working with the CMC in recent months to explain that it cannot be associated with a group that engages in what it considers activism. Politics.
News from the Seaway has contacted Robin Poole, the CMC chairman for comment, but Poole said the CMC will not comment on the matter at this time.
The break between the CMC and the RRCA is effective immediately. The RRCA states that it will continue to manage and maintain Cooper Marsh.
The CMC is planning a demonstration outside the South Glengarry Township Hotel on Monday, July 19 at 1 p.m. to protest the decision to approve the rezoning of the land.