LSRCA seeks more detail in ‘environmental malfeasance’ complaints

With the number of violation complaints more than doubling since the start of the pandemic, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority has tweaked its online submission system to better assess and prioritize community concerns.

The conservation authority “has seen a deluge in complaints about environmental malfeasance within its boundaries in the past two years” and since then has developed an online form that requires complainants to submit detailed information to better assess the magnitude of the issue.

The number of complaints received by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) totaled almost 400 in 2021 – more than double the 145 concerns raised in 2019.

“We’re struggling to keep up with the volume,” said Ashlea Brown, director of environmental regulations at the conservation authority, in an online post. “We had to think outside the box and find a way to ensure we review every complaint and prioritize the most serious issues.”

Residents can access the online complaint form at any time and also submit photos of the alleged violation.

The website with the complaint form also includes greater detail about what sorts of activities fall within the conservation authority’s regulations. The LSRCA does not deal with animals in distress (those concerns should be directed to a local animal control center or the province’s animal welfare line), the cutting of trees (that’s usually a municipal bylaw issue) or environmental spills (the Ministry of Environment). .

“Providing more detail upfront is intended to help redirect complaints to the appropriate agency, leaving more resources to address serious environmental issues such as wetland destruction and building in floodplains,” the LSRCA said.

The conservation authority piloted the form in 2021 and “so far it’s helped gather better information, but many people are still submitting complaints that are not within the conservation authority’s area of ​​responsibility.”

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