FORT FRANCES—In conjunction with a forage insurance meeting taking place Monday (April 2) in Stratton, the Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association is having a water quality specialist speak in order to define the Clean Water Act for local producers and municipal representatives.
Chris Attema, who works for several organizations including the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association, is responsible for providing technical and policy advice on environmental issues.
The Clean Water Act legislation allows for the protection of sources for municipal drinking water systems in non-conservation authority areas—such as Rainy River District—through a local planning process.
Municipalities would be permitted to enter into an agreement with the minister to develop a source protection plan focusing on drinking water threats.
“It’s going to affect producers and municipalities in our area because we have water that runs through here,” noted RRCA secretary April Szpara. “And it will affect all land owners that are all near the water.
“It’s pretty serious stuff . . . and it’s important that the information gets out,” she stressed.
Attema already has informed the RRCA that the Clean Water Act is a “huge download of cost and liability from the province to rural and Northern Ontario.”
While there’s currently a lack of specific regulation details, Attema is certain the planning process will re-zone areas of land as either municipal well or surface water intake zones.
And if a person’s property falls within these areas, they no longer will have the final say on what they can do on their land.
“It’s really going to put some people up against the wall,” warned Szpara. “We’re inviting people to come hear him [Attema] talk so they can best get it clarified and know how it’s going to affect themselves.”
The meeting will be held Monday at 7 p.m. at the Morley municipal office.