Northwestern Ontario municipal leaders say they were left out of the discussion on how the province plans to implement its controversial Endangered Species Act.
In a Jan. 23 release, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) expressed “extreme disappointment” and wants an explanation from Queen's Park on why they were excluded from a government panel tasked with providing recommendations to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) panel report was released for public consumption on Jan. 21.
NOMA is pleased with one recommendation outlining the need for mandatory socio-economic impact assessments on all ESA-related policies. The group is also in favour of a recommendation from the forest industry that government recognize that the Crown Forest Sustainability Act already protects species at risk and industry shouldn't be subject to “duplicative and unnecessary protocols.”
“We’ve been working with the Ontario Forest Industries Association and forest companies for the past six years on this issue,” said Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield, NOMA's executive vice-president, “and we firmly believe that the forest sector recommendation forwarded in the report is a necessary step in ensuring that the ESA does not have any unintended consequences.”
NOMA has a membership of 37 municipalities stretching from Kenora in the west to Wawa in the east.