Changes have been made to the Navigable Waters Protection Act that will benefit municipal projects, Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Merv Tweed said.
“After consulting with many municipal leaders and constituents it was very clear that changes were necessary,” Tweed said.
“Drainage and the proper care and the eradication of low-lying water in dykes and ditches is something that is brought up often as it has a large effect on field conditions and the ability of important projects to move forward largely as a result of regulations.”
The Navigable Waters Protection Act is one of Canada’s oldest pieces of legislation, dating from 1882 at a time when our waterways were Canada’s primary transportation routes, said a government news release.
Over time, however, the scope and application of the Act has significantly expanded due to many factors such as amendments, judicial decisions and changes in operational practices of mariners.
This has created a bureaucratic ‘black hole,’ holding up simple projects like municipal infrastructure and small recreational docks that do not actually interfere with navigation, the release said.
The proposed amendments to the act not only usher in a risk-based approach to the regulation of works and obstruction and build on the 2009 amendments, but seize the opportunity to create a modern, robust and flexible legislative scheme that is effectively responsive to the needs of Canada in the future.
Ultimately, refocusing the scope and application of the legislation to better balance the efficient movement of marine traffic with the need to construct works, such as bridges, wharfs and transmission lines.
This means focusing protection rules on real and significant threats to these fisheries and the habitat that supports them while setting clear standards and guidelines for routine projects.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 19, 2012