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GRCA board approves 2017 budget

Web posted on March 13, 2017

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) will spend about $31 million this year on programs that protect water quality, reduce flood damages, protect natural areas, support responsible development and provide outdoor recreation and environmental education.

The budget was approved by the GRCA board on Friday, February 24, 2017. The board is made up of 26 members appointed by the municipalities in the Grand River watershed.

Municipalities will contribute $11 million in general municipal levy to the GRCA this year, about 36 per cent of the total budget. The municipal levy portion is up about 2.5 per cent this year. That works out to about $10.60 per resident.

Government grants totalling about $4 million represents about 13% of the budget. This includes $800,000 from municipalities towards the Rural Water Quality program. The remainder is primarily provincial grants, which include funding of over $800,000 for the Source Protection Program.

The GRCA also receives approximately $300,000 in funding from the federal government. Approximately $220,000 of this funding this year is in support of Canada 150 projects.

Finally, the GRCA generates about $14.6 million, or about 47 per cent, of its own revenue through revenue sources such as camping fees, park admissions, nature centre programs, hydro sales, property rentals, tree sales, planning permits, and donations raised by the Grand River Conservation Foundation (GRCF).

Budget Highlights:

  • Drinking Water Source Protection Plan: The GRCA will continue to work on the development and implementation of a Drinking Water Source Protection Plan for each of the four watersheds in the Lake Erie Source Protection Region, including the Grand River watershed under the Clean Water Act, 2006. All four Source Protection Plans are now approved. Beyond supporting municipalities and other agencies in implementing the plans, the focus will be to undertake water quantity risk assessment studies, development of water quantity policies, updating water quality vulnerability assessments, and the development of an annual progress reporting framework.

  • Emerald Ash Borer: The GRCA will continue to address the impacts of Emerald Ash Borer on GRCA lands. About $400,000 will be spent this year responding to damage caused by the invasive insect. Most of the money will go to remove hazardous trees in the areas where the infestation is the highest.

  • Rural Water Quality Program: About $800,000 is expected to be available to farmers to help them undertake projects to protect water quality on their land including tree planting, erection of fences along water courses, construction of manure storage tanks and other projects. The money comes from municipalities within the Grand River watershed, while the GRCA manages the program.

  • Grand River Parks: The GRCA operates 11 active parks in the Grand River watershed, offering a wide array of activities including camping, fishing, swimming, hiking and skiing. These parks are user-supported through gate admission, equipment rental fees, and camping revenues and receive no tax dollars to support their operation. Following two very successful operating seasons, the parks will be focused on infrastructure reinvestment in 2017. This reinvestment will primarily focus on projects that will enhance the visitor experience including improved washroom facilities, playgrounds, pavilions and access control gates at park entrances.

Water Control Structures:

  • Shand, Laurel & Guelph Dam: About $100,000 will be spent onbackup generators & fuel system upgrades to meet current code requirements. Guelph Dam will also include design & fabrication of a bulkhead to isolate discharge valve for repair work.

  • Conestogo Dam: Detailed design of the gate electrical gain heater and control system as well as an update of the emergency preparedness plan. The cost is estimated at $85,000.

  • Laurel Dam: About $60,000 will be spent completing the final phase of the dam safety study and gate operating system refurbishments.

  • Woolwich Dam: About $425,000 will be spent to refurbish the gates, replace gate control equipment, finalize hazard potential classification and develop an emergency preparedness plan.

  • Caledonia Dam: About $40,000 will be spent to install new stop log gains and a new set of stop logs.

  • Dunnville Dam: The dam fish ladder will be redesigned at an approximate cost of $25,000.

  • Wellesley Dam: About $55,000 will be spent to complete the design and tender documents for future concrete repairs and to refurbish the gate.

  • Wellington Street Dam: About $30,000 will be spent to complete the design of a rehabilitation plan for the superstructure.

  • Brantford Dyke: Approximately $45,000 will be spent to initiate toe repairs of the concrete slab and to redesign the dyke through the abandoned railway line which requires manual placement of stop logs to complete the dyke.

  • Cambridge Dyke: Repairs of two sections of the river wall will be completed at an approximate cost of $330,000.