RRCA processed a record number of development requests in 2021
The Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) had a record year in 2021 for supporting sustainable development in its catchment jurisdiction in Cornwall and surrounding areas of SDG, receiving a total of 311 development applications.
In 2021, the RRCA issued 136 approvals under the Conservation Authorities Act which regulates certain development activities within or near significant watercourses and wetlands. The RRCA also broke its annual planning review record, reviewing and providing advice on 175 cases. Under the Planning Act, the RRCA supports its 5 member municipalities by reviewing planning proposals and policy documents and providing advice on natural hazards (e.g. floods, erosion and unstable slopes) and natural heritage (e.g. waterways, wetlands, woodlands, etc.).
“At its core, this regulatory work is about protecting people and property, as well as the local environment,” says Phil Barnes, head of the RRCA’s catchment management team. “A streamlined yet thorough permitting process enables us to provide timely advice to residents, businesses and municipalities in our jurisdiction, enabling them to move forward with their development plans with confidence and security.
At the RRCA Board meeting in January 2022, the Board approved additional protection for Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSWs) within the jurisdiction of the RRCA through planning regulations and amendment under the Conservation Authorities Act. The council is made up of appointed representatives from the 5 member municipalities of the RRCA: the City of Cornwall and the Townships of North Glengarry, South Glengarry, South Stormont and North Stormont.
“Wetlands are assigned PSW status by the province based on their ecosystem and human utility value, such as storing and releasing groundwater and preventing flood damage,” says Barnes. . There are currently 8,400 hectares of PSW spread across the 1,680 km2 RRCA jurisdiction in Eastern Ontario.
As part of its streamlined review services, the RRCA is also the lead agency for the Cornwall Sediment Strategy (CSS), which protects several areas of mercury-contaminated sediment in the St. Cornwall Sea. The RRCA includes a CSS review for landowners who plan to install docks or other structures on or near their shoreline.