Ridgetown – The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on February 20 at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. Linda McKinlay was elected as Chair and Trevor Thompson as Vice-chair for 2020. Mrs. McKinlay is a Municipal Councillor for the Town of Lakeshore and Mr. Thompson is a Municipal Councillor for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
The 2020 budget of $3,304,046 received approval at the AGM. The budget represents an increase of $98,522 or 3.1% in overall spending in comparison to the 2019 approved budget of $3,205,524. The corresponding increase in the municipal levy is $28,676 or 1.75%. The 10 member municipalities of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority include Chatham-Kent, Dutton Dunwich, Lakeshore, Leamington, London, Middlesex Centre, Southwest Middlesex, Southwold, Strathroy-Caradoc and West Elgin. Chatham-Kent appoints three representatives to the LTVCA Board while the remaining nine municipalities appoint one representative each for up to a four year term.
Guest Speaker at the meeting was Bruce McAllister – Director, Planning Services, Community Development for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. Mr. McAllister informed the audience on the work being undertaken by the Municipality of Chatham-Kent addressing climate change. He was followed by the LTVCA Conservation Awards. “LTVCA Awards for Volunteer Heroes” were presented to Dianne Flook, Margaret Hulls, and Sheila Simpson and an organizational Environmental Award was presented to Chatham Kent Public Health, representated by Sandy Kalabalikis.
The 2019 Annual Report emphasized changes and challenges experienced in the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority’s watershed. Ninety-eight flood bulletins were issued, 27 media releases published and 31 provincial water quality monitoring sites were operated. Additional highlights of the year included the LTVCA undertaking 3,121 regulatory and municipal plan review services, the provision of $1.3 M of stewardship grant assistance to 209 landowners, the planting of 71,279 trees, and the natural restoration of 85 hectares. Over 6,774 thousand students and adults engaged in the LTVCA’s education programs, nearly 13,400 people enjoyed camping at four conservation authority campgrounds and 27 public events were held in LTVCA conservation areas in 2019. Also recognized were the more than 1,282 volunteers who gave over 7,853 hours of their time and the nearly 60 funding partners of the Conservation Authority that provided an additional $1.6 M for watershed conservation.
During the meeting the LTVCA recognized the work of volunteers and past board members but it also looked forward to the work to be done.
Mark Peacock CAO / Secretary/Treasurer of the LTVCA stated that “The floods of 2019 must be viewed as a warning / wake up call. Change is needed. Maintaining the status quo in policy and practice cannot continue. Municipalities cannot afford the infrastructure problems already being seen, let alone future costs associated with climate change. All levels of government must work to change the way we do shoreline and river management, so that residents and municipalities are protected from costs of flooding and erosion. We all should support the local action that municipalities such as Chatham-Kent are taking to address this issue.”
In the words of Chair Linda McKinlay “I am very grateful to be re-elected as Chair of the LTVCA for 2020. This past year was incredibly challenging. Our Board worked diligently while dealing with extreme Climate change issues in watershed management and funding reductions from the Province. Now more than ever, the work of all Conservation Authorities is critical and I look forward to continuing our mandate ensuring that our actions taken will support a better future, as well as a better present for our watershed.”
For further information, please contact:
Mark Peacock, CAO / Secretary-Treasurer
Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority
Tel: 519-354-7310 (Administration Office)