NPCA says mandate unaffected by job cuts
Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority is adamant it will continue to fulfil its mandate, despite concerns about recent layoffs.
NPCA issued a statement Wednesday morning, hoping to clear up “inaccurate union claims and MPP statements” regarding its ongoing role and responsibilities after the agency cut eight frontline workers in late September.
The organization’s statement, posted on its website Wednesday morning, says some of the job cuts were a result of discussions about revising a memorandum of understanding that was signed by NPCA, Niagara Region and local municipalities about a decade ago.
NPCA communications manager Michael Reles, however, said neither the changes to that MOU or the resulting job cuts that included two planners will undermine NPCA’s commitment or ability to fulfil its legislated mandate.
Despite concerns that NPCA’s watershed protection duties could be transferred to Niagara Region, Reles said that part of its job falls under the Conversation Authority Act and will not change.
“It continues to be under the purview of the NPCA and nothing will change that area,” Reles said. “It has nothing to do with shoreline protection. It has nothing to do with watersheds, streams, wetlands, creeks, nothing to do with that.” have completed by the end of the year.
“There are still going to be some things that we’d like the conservation authority to administer on our behalf, likely related to storm water management and other things that are more aligned with their mandate.”
Other job losses resulted from a minor restructuring that led to the loss of a director position, as well as a value-for-money review of its restoration program conducted by an independent consultant.
The value-for-money review pointed out deficiencies and liability exposure within the restoration program, that also fell “short of NPCA’s high standards of accountability and transparency,” the statement says.
Reles said NPCA is instead developing a new restoration program to replace it, that does a better job of engaging stakeholders and volunteers, while also enhancing accountability and reducing costs.
That program is expected to be approved in the weeks to come with more information to be released before the end of October.
Meanwhile, the NPCA statement says it will “continue to monitor and assess its own needs with the possibility of recalling laid-off workers should the need arise.”
Reles said he could provide no further comment on the potential of recalling any of the laid-off workers.