Conservation Authorities within the province of Ontario have adopted regulations that are approved by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry under Section 28 of the Conservations Authorities Act. Section 28(16) of the Conservations Authorities Act states that permission under the regulation shall not be refused or granted with conditions unless the person requesting the permission has been given the opportunity to require a hearing before the Conservation Authority. Under certain circumstances where an application involves a major project or has significant public interest, a hearing may be convened to consider the application. If a permit application is refused after consideration at a local hearing, the applicant can appeal the Authority’s decision to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. The responsibility of hearing this appeal, and making a final decision, has been delegated by the Minister to the Mining and Lands Commissioner.
In considering applications for permission under the regulation, the Conservation Authority is acting as a regulatory tribunal which requires that procedures be followed to avoid bias or the apprehension of bias when conducting a local hearing. The hearing is conducted in a semi-judicial manner in which testimony is given under oath or affirmation and the individuals give testimony on behalf of the Conservation Authority or the applicant. Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act does not make provision for third party participation in a hearing nor does it provide any mechanism for an appeal by a third party. The hearing is open to the public but members of the public do not have an active participation role. The review of permit applications is to address technical watershed hazard issues and the Conservation Authority represents the public interest. The final decision and minutes of the hearing are made public. In addition to a decision made by MVCA at the hearing, approvals are also required by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (e.g. Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act, Public Lands Act and Endangered Species Act) and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (e.g. Permit to Take Water).
The MVCA Regulations Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, September 9 at 9:30am to consider the application from Enerdu Power Systems Ltd. to permit the company to alter the channel of the Mississippi River. The review, under Ontario Regulation 153/06, addresses the potential impact of the construction of the expanded generating station. The operating plan for the generating station is approved under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act under the Water Management Plan process and not under Ontario Regulation 153/06. The hearing will take place at the Mississippi Valley Conservation Centre, 10970 Highway 7, Carleton Place.
Should you have further questions or seek more information, please contact John Price, P. Eng. MVCA Director, Water Resources Engineering at 613-253-0006 ext 258 or firstname.lastname@example.org