01/29/2007

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the January 2007 Board meeting.

Rural-Northern Plan Discussion Paper
AMO’s Rural-Northern Plan Discussion Paper was approved by the Board. This important new policy paper will be launched at the upcoming ROMA/OGRA Conference.

Blue Flashing Lights on Law Enforcement Vehicles
The Board considered a request for feedback from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) on a proposal to allow police services in Ontario to use blue flashing lights along with the existing red flashing lights on their vehicles. In line with a position taken by the Ontario Good Roads Association, the AMO Board expressed support for extending permissive authority for blue flashing lights to police provided that implementation is discretionary and that municipal road service vehicles such as snowplows retain the right to use blue flashing lights.

Provincial-Municipal Fiscal Services Delivery Review
An information update on the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal Services Delivery Review was provided. Recognizing the need for broader consultation, staff noted that there will be formal opportunities for key stakeholder groups, individual municipalities, and others, to provide input to the review and that additional information on this process was expected in the coming weeks.

Draft Regulation and Guidelines under the Environmental Assessment Act
The Board expressed its support for the new Draft Regulation and Guidelines under the Environmental Assessment Act. The proposed changes promise to simplify the Environmental Assessment approval requirements and exempt various municipal solid waste processing activities. If implemented, the Regulation will help municipalities address the gap between the amount of annual waste processing and current disposal requirements. It was noted that thermal degradation facilities, which produce energy, are treated differently under the EAA even though they are designed and operated like most other industries. The Board strongly endorsed the proposed Regulation with the proviso that thermal degradation facilities be exempt from EAA provisions and be treated like any other industry.

Proposed Brownfields Regulations
The Board considered its response to the draft Brownfields Regulations. The proposed changes should minimize liability issues for municipalities. The Board strongly endorsed the proposed changes and directed staff to communicate its support to the Government. Staff will coordinate a multi-agency response to the draft regulations and relay AMO Board support for the proposed changes.

Source Protection Committees under the Clean Water Act
The Ministry of the Environment’s Discussion Paper on Source Protection Committees under the Clean Water Act, 2006 was presented to the AMO Board to solicit feedback. In particular, comments were requested on the selection and composition of Source Protection Committees, Committee decision-making methods, and working group establishment. 

With respect to the selection of Source Protection Committee chairs, the Board agreed that the proposed one-third municipal representation would only be acceptable if consensus decision-making was used by the committees. If an alternate method, such as majority vote, was used the Board agreed that the process should be amended to provide majority municipal representation. In addition, the Board directed staff to respond to the Ministry on the issue of representation of the provincial and federal governments where activities on Crown Land or federal establishments affect water sources. Finally, on the question of working groups, the Board agreed that municipal working groups be established for committees where all affected municipalities in the Source Protection Area are not represented. Staff was directed to prepare a response communicating these concerns.