WHEREAS under The Water Security Agency Act, the Water Security Agency (WSA) is required to investigate all complaints it receives regarding municipal works;
WHEREAS municipal works are shut down until investigators can be sent out to inspect the works, even when permits have been issued to the rural municipality;
WHEREAS previously complainants were required to have an interest in the property or work to bring forward a complaint to the WSA;
WHEREAS the current Act allows individuals to make vexatious complaints which create undue delays and costs for the rural municipality, as it can take a up to a week for officials to investigate the complaint;
BE IT RESOLVED that The Water Security Agency Act be amended to require complainants to have an interest in the land or works in question in order to prevent vexatious complaints.
Response From The Water Security Agency:
January 10, 2020
The Request for Assistance (RFA) process is a compliance priority because the process is mandated in The Water Security Agency Act and The Water Security Agency Regulations. It is important to address impacts from drainage to mitigate flooding, loss of habitat and effects on water quality, which often occur far downstream of drainage works.
Upon becoming aware of a potential incident of non-compliance through the RFA process and other methods including surveillance, pro-active networks, third party inquiries and voluntary submission of drainage applications, WSA undertakes a desktop review and/or an inspection at the earliest practical opportunity to determine if an incident of non-compliance exists.
As part of this review, WSA investigates to determine if the complainant has an interest in the land and endeavors to dismiss third party complaints as quickly as possible. A similar approach would be required if the legislation was amended to require a complainant to show an interest in the lands in question. WSA is considering an RFA application fee.
When WSA becomes aware of a potential incident of non-compliance, it also evaluates the risk of the drainage works and degree of landowner co-operation to pursue compliance, in order to determine the appropriate response and priority for resources.
It is WSA's intent to employ a standardized and transparent approach to compliance with the Act and apply consistent and fair treatment to every situation, while following through on compliance actions in a timely fashion. The hope is that, in most situations, compliance can be achieved through issuance of approvals.
WSA is achieving increasingly move approvals under the Agricultural Water Management Strategy with a focus on responsible drainage networks. For the next 18 months, WSA is undertaking broad consultation on a sound and effective draft wetland mitigation policy that balances economic development with the need for wetlands, and has recently met with more than 40 organizations to discuss the Strategy. The resolution effectively informs WSA of concerns that need to be addressed.
Susan Ross - President and CEO