FINCH – The future of South Nation Conservation (SNC) remains bright after a series of recent engagement sessions with municipal partners and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP) set the tone for their future plans.

In August, minister Jeff Yurek asked that conservation authorities review their programs and “wind down those activities that fall outside the scope of your core mandate.”

A meeting with their 16 municipal partners Wed., Nov. 6, including Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and the City of Ottawa, was “largely successful” according to SNC communications team lead John Mesman and did much to dispel some of the confusion regarding the core mandate.

Feedback from the engagement session was included in the presentation to Yurek and the MOECP Thurs., Nov. 14.

“We wanted to give the ministry our feedback on the Eastern Ontario context to some of these issues,” said Mesman.

Some of the policy matters discussed included flood plain management, municipal representation, board accountability and the core mandate.

SNC pointed out that their board of directors is made up of representatives from strong municipal partners, while they also addressed the question as to whether or not the forestry program fell under the “core mandate” as described by Yurek.

“The way we see it, especially in this whole core versus non-core programs, it does truly identify conservation lands management as a key thing that conservation authorities should do, that includes our forestry program,” said Mesman. “I think what’s going to come out of the province is that we should be in this business for sure.”

SNC will have its initial reading of their 2020 budget later this month.