THUNDER BAY ON – December 7, 2011 --- The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) is responding to the 2011 Annual Report by the Environmental Commissioners Office (ECO) entitled “Engaging Solutions”. NOMA supports the need for environmental protection and believes that any government initiative should be based on the three pillars of sustainability – social, economic and environmental. As such, NOMA is extremely disturbed by the ECO’s apparent lack of consideration of the social and economic impacts of provincial government initiatives in favour of environmental progress at all costs.
Of particular concern is the Caribou Conservation Plan, an untested policy document that outlines the government’s approach to caribou management, and the statement made by the ECO that “the public might be surprised by the limited extent to which conservation measures would actually affect local communities”.
“We live, work and play in the North and we see the impacts of these policies in our communities,” says Mayor David Canfield, NOMA Executive VP. “The reality is that the Caribou Conservation Plan is already reducing the available wood supply by up to 65% in some Forest Management Plans. This will have a permanent, negative impact on the economic well-being of our communities and is another example of a policy that was developed in Toronto behind closed doors with no regard for the input and expertise of Northern citizens.”
Canfield continues, “We are encouraged by the appointment of Minister Gravelle to the Natural Resources portfolio. As a northerner and a former Minister with economic development responsibilities (MNDMF), he understands the need to consider the social and economic impacts as well as environmental impacts associated with these initiatives. We look forward to working with Minister Gravelle to ensure that the three pillars of sustainability are considered in MNR policies and practices.”
NOMA represents the interests of municipalities from Kenora and Rainy River in the west to Hornepayne and Wawa in the east. It provides leadership in advocating regional interests to all orders of government and other organizations.