A possible Ottawa River watershed council could end up costing Madawaska Valley taxpayers

BARRY’S BAY – Mayor Kim Love talked about the issue surrounding the Ottawa River watershed study and the effects it could have on this area during her mayors address on April 3. Mayor Love said that this watershed study, which is being done by the federal government, covers a large area from Brockville to Bancroft, up through Algonquin Park to North Bay. Temiskaming Shores to Kirkland Lake into Quebec just below Val d’Or over to Manawan and over to the outskirts of Montreal. “All of Renfrew County, the Madawaska River System and the Township of Madawaska Valley are covered by this study,” said Love. This study is being done to gather some information in regards to Ottawa River watershed and how best to protect, manage and conserve it. “Environment and Climate Change Canada is using meetings, social media, emails and ‘Placespeak’, which is an online engagement platform to hear from the public about issues in the Ottawa River watershed,” said Love. Environment and Climate Change Canada held two public meetings in February and March. One was in Gatineau and the other one was held in Ottawa. “They also hosted invitation only meetings and webinars from January through March, with indigenous communities, the provincial governments of Quebec and Ontario, environmental non-government organizations and industry groups,” said Love. Love explained that the Ottawa River watershed study wants to hear from Canadians living in, or relying on the watershed, indigenous people who live in or near the watershed, non-governmental organizations, businesses and industry associations, academics and researches and diverse groups representing identity factors like gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, mental and physical disability. “The Ottawa River watershed study is being done to determine if there is a need to establish an Ottawa River watershed council,” said Love. “This council would be a conservation authority that will manage the Ottawa River and it’s entire watershed. “Conservation authorities have the power to decide which municipalities will participate and the authority to demand a portion of their administrative operating and capitol costs from those municipalities,” explained Love. “Simply put the conservation authority sends a bill the municipality has to pay it and collect the money from our taxpayers.” For more pick up a copy of the April 11, paper.