Mayor St-Amour ac­cepts SNC chair­man post

Tribune Express - - NEWS - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN

Le maire Fran­çois St-Amour (à droite) rem­pla­ce­ra Doug Thomp­son à la pré­si­dence du conseil d’ad­mi­nis­tra­tion de la Conser­va­tion de la Na­tion Sud. M. St-Amour a été nom­mé au poste lors de l’as­sem­blée gé­né­rale an­nuelle de l’agence, le 17 fé­vrier. The mayor for The Na­tion Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty will helm the board of di­rec­tors for the South Na­tion Conser­va­tion Au­tho­ri­ty for the next two years.

Mayor Fran­çois St-Amour was ac­clai­med wi­thout op­po­si­tion or com­pe­ti­tion to the chair­man’s po­si­tion at the South Na­tion Conser­va­tion Au­tho­ri­ty’s (SNC) an­nual ge­ne­ral mee­ting in Finch, Feb. 17. Al­fredP­lan­ta­ge­net Town­ship Mayor Fer­nand Di­caire was al­so ac­clai­med as the SNC board’s vice-chair­man for the next two years.

“I do be­lieve in the SNC,” said St-Amour du­ring his ac­cep­tance speech. “It does a lot of good. 2017 is going to be a ve­ry event­ful year, loa­ded with ac­ti­vi­ties.”

St-Amour ob­ser­ved that the co­ming year should present “lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties” for the SNC to meet its man­date for conser­va­tion, re­search, and wor­king with lo­cal lan­dow­ners and mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties on flood ma­na­ge­ment, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, and en­han­ce­ment of lo­cal re­crea­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Di­caire no­ted that the SNC has “a great staff” of em­ployees, ex­perts in their fields, and able to work with area re­si­dents.

Doug Thomp­son, who be­came past­pre­sident of the SNC board at the close of the mee­ting, re­flec­ted on the 16 years he has sat on the board of di­rec­tors, in­clu­ding his past two years as chair­man and al­so on the 70th an­ni­ver­sa­ry of the crea­tion of the SNC.

“Since that time (70 years ago) the South Na­tion has be­come one of the lea­ding conser­va­tion au­tho­ri­ties throu­ghout the pro­vince,” Thomp­son said. “We are bles­sed with an in­cre­dible staff and de­di­ca­ted vo­lun­teers.”

Du­ring a la­ter in­ter­view, St-Amour no­ted that one of his im­me­diate goals as chair­ma­ne­lect is “to over­see a good tran­si­tion” in the chan­geo­ver from Den­nis O’Gra­dy to An­ge­la Co­le­man as SNC’s ge­ne­ral ma­na­ger. O’Gra­dy steps down as ge­ne­ral ma­na­ger for the re­gio­nal conser­va­tion agen­cy when his of­fi­cial re­ti­re­ment takes ef­fect la­ter this spring. Co­le­man, a long­time SNC se­nior exe­cu­tive, was na­med as the new ge­ne­ral ma­na­ger last au­tumn and she is wor­king with O’Gra­dy to fa­mi­lia­rize her­self with her ex­pan­ded range of res­pon­si­bi­li­ties.

St-Amour al­so ex­pects the ex­per­tise of SNC staff to prove va­luable for the agen­cy in fin­ding and get­ting grants and other sources of fun­ding aid, for both exis­ting pro­jects and new ones dea­ling with conser­va­tion work and re­crea­tion en­han­ce­ment.

He al­so ex­pects the SNC will be wor­king “ve­ry clo­se­ly”, du­ring the next two years, with the agri­cul­tu­ral com­mu­ni­ty of the South Na­tion Ri­ver wa­ter­shed ré­gion, to deal with the is­sue of main­tai­ning and im­pro­ving the fo­rest co­ver for the re­gion, which helps both pro­tect wet­land and other na­tu­ral ha­bi­tats, and al­so aids in soil conser­va­tion and re­crea­tion.

Recent SNC stu­dies show that the wa­ter­shed’s fo­rest ove­rall fo­rest co­ver has slip­ped be­low the per­cen­tage dee­med ac­cep­table for sus­tai­nable sup­port of wild­life ha­bi­tats for an area of its size. Part of the rea­son is land de­ve­lop­ment for re­si­den­tial hou­sing and al­so ex­pan­sion of exis­ting agri­cul­tu­ral areas. St-Amour, who ope­rates a wor­king farm in The Na­tion Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, ex­pects suc­cess­ful re­sults for SNC in re­sol­ving the si­tua­tion through its part­ner­ship with the re­gio­nal far­ming sec­tor.

“They (far­mers) know all about the pro­blem,” St-Amour said. “There are things that can be done wi­thout in­frin­ging on anyone’s pro­per­ty rights.”

—pho­to Gregg Chamberlain

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