The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is asking Natural Resources minister David Ramsay to intervene directly to ensure that local conservation authorities follow the intent of a recent ministry announcement dealing with wetland areas.
“We’re concerned the conservation authorities may be using the new generic regulations as a tool to place additional restrictions on farmers,” said OFA president Ron Bonnett.
The MNR recently announced an initiative to have generic regulations put in place to describe how lands around provincially-significant wetlands must be treated.
“We understand the changes are intended to focus on flood control measures around lakes and rivers, but are not expected to alter existing land uses for farmers,” said Bonnett.
“Our understanding, after talking with MNR staff and Conservation Ontario, is that ordinary agricultural practices would still be allowed on farms surrounding these wetlands,” he noted.
“However, our members in some parts of the province are telling us that local conservation authorities are placing additional restrictions on farmers. It appears there is an effort to expand the land base under the control of conservation authorities.
“We’ve written the minister asking for a delay of one year in implementing this change to ensure that this confusion is cleared up,” said Bonnett.
“We’re also asking the minister to intervene directly to ensure that local conservation authorities follow the intent of the MNR initiative,” he added.