Endangered Species Act hot topic at upcoming NEOMA – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – May 25, 2016)


KIRKLAND LAKE – Concerns over Ontario’s Endangered Species Act continue to dominate discussions amongst Northeastern Ontario municipal leaders.

Less than two weeks after the annual meeting of FONOM (Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities) was held in Timmins, Northern leaders are now preparing for the annual meeting of the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) which is to be held in Kirkland Lake this coming Friday.

Several items on the NEOMA agenda include The Endangered Species Act and what the implementation of the act means for Northern Ontario communities that rely on resource-based industries, such as logging and mining. The Act will be spoken to in a presentation to be made by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The Act will also be challenged by municipal representatives of the City of Temiskaming Shores — a new member of NEOMA and the Town of Hearst — a long-time member of NEOMA.

Under the Act, the Ontario government has set out to protect creatures and plants that are considered to be endangered, based on independent scientific assessments and traditional Aboriginal knowledge, according to the MNRF website.

In recent years, Northern municipal leaders have spoken out and questioned the validity of the science and scientific conclusions with respect to the forest-dwelling woodland caribou, which is now considered a species at risk in Ontario.

The Ontario government has designated the area generally north of Highway 11 as being prime habitat for the woodland caribou, now and into the future. Part of the concern stems from the fact that the area defined as caribou habitat includes areas where caribou have been seen as well as areas where caribou might return if the habitat is suitable at some point in the future. This could eliminate large swaths of crown land from forestry extraction or mineral exploration.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.timminspress.com/2016/05/25/endangered-species-act-hot-topic-at-upcoming-neoma