Ontario opens public consultations on proposed conservation reserve in Prince Edward County



PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – The Ontario government is seeking public input on a proposal to designate the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area as a conservation reserve.

These two areas along the southern shore of Prince Edward County have important ecological, geological, recreation and cultural values, and this designation would mean better protection for local biodiversity and provide an exciting opportunity for families to enjoy them for generations to come.

Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, said designating the lands as Ontario’s first new conservation reserve since 1999 would not only offer long-term protection for these important ecological areas, but also introduce a stewardship planning process to guide future public use.

“We know these lands are ecologically significant and popular for recreation. It is important that we make plans now to preserve them for future generations,” said Smith.  “By engaging the public on this proposal, our government is showing that it is prepared to build on the conservation work and advocacy by the South Shore Joint Initiative, supported by Prince Edward County.”

David Piccini, Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, said opening consultation on designating the areas as a conservation reserve is one of many steps the government is taking to expand protected areas and greenspaces across the province.

“Prince Edward County is a hot spot for local tourism and continues to grow in popularity every year. I am pleased that we are providing more opportunities and access for people to enjoy its natural beauty, now and in the future,” said Piccini.

The regulation of Ostrander Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area as a conservation reserve would fall under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act. It would create new opportunities for the public, including hiking, hunting and birdwatching, while also strengthening the long-term protection and health of local wildlife.

Over the coming months, the Province will be engaging with local municipal partners, Indigenous communities, and the public to gather input on the proposal.  Smith encourages members of the public to have their say by visiting https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-4597 by March 12.

John Hirsch, President of the South Shore Joint Initiative, welcomed the news.

“Since 2018, South Shore Joint Initiative has raised awareness about our South Shore, the last undisturbed land along the north shore of Lake Ontario and specifically, Point Petre and Ostrander Point. These globally significant public lands are internationally recognized as a critical migratory pathway and home to remarkable biodiversity,” said Hirsch. “The wellbeing of our beautiful South Shore and millions of migrating birds, amphibians, plants and reptiles is inextricably linked with the people who enjoy it. For these reasons and more, we’re thrilled that public consultation is underway to permanently protect and preserve these lands for current and future generations as a new conservation reserve.”



  • This proposal is made possible by the conservation efforts of the South Shore Joint Initiative, a not-for-profit coalition working to protect the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area in the South Shore of Prince Edward County, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, who acquired and is managing privately protected areas in the region.
  • The objective of conservation reserves is to permanently protect ecosystems, particularly examples of natural areas not protected elsewhere, provide opportunities for ecologically sustainable land uses, and facilitate scientific research. Conservation reserves have minimal facilities and are intended for low levels of recreational use, such as hiking, fishing, bird watching and other activities.
  • Ontario manages and protects 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves totaling 9.8 million hectares or over 9 per cent of the province.

Ontario gives boost to public transit systems in Bay of Quinte municipalities

BAY OF QUINTE – The Ontario government is providing $1,491,266 to support the expansion and improvement of public transit services in local communities, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced today.

In 2022, the City of Belleville will receive $842,922, the City of Quinte West will receive $532,608, and Prince Edward County will receive $115,736.

“Our government know that supporting public transit systems is more important than ever as communities struggle to maintain service levels during COVID-19. That is why we have topped up this year’s Gas Tax funding to make up for reduced sales at the pump,” said Smith. “This money will help Bay of Quinte municipalities to expand and upgrade transit infrastructure that offer a reliable connection to social engagement, services and employment.”

The funding is part of the province’s Gas Tax program, which will allocate $375.6 million this year to 107 municipalities that deliver public transit.  Municipalities that support public transit services in their community receive two cents per litre of provincial Gas Tax revenue, for use to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure.

To make up for reduced gas sales due to COVID-19, this year’s Gas Tax allocations include one-time additional funding of $120.4 million to ensure municipalities can support their transit systems.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how critical public transit is for frontline workers and for Ontarians who depend on these services to get to medical appointments, the grocery store, and other important locations, said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Gas Tax funding remains a vital source of long-term transit funding that municipalities can rely on to help operate and expand existing public transit services – ensuring people have access to safe and reliable transportation when they need it.”


“This is great news from the provincial government about this year's gas tax allocation! Provincial Gas Tax funds are used to supplement taxpayer support of existing public transportation including fleet renewal, accessible stops, accessible shelters and making our system more efficient and cost effective. We appreciate the hard work of MPPs Kramp and Smith to get us this funding."

Mayor Mitch Panciuk, City of Belleville

"This funding allows us to move forward with critical infrastructure upgrades that will improve the daily lives of our residents. We're grateful to the province for its ongoing support of projects that benefit the people living in Quinte West."

                                                                                                                        Mayor Jim Harrison, City of Quinte West

"Ongoing support through the provincial Gas Tax program is critical to serve residents who require accessible transit. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, additional one-time funding from the provincial will ensure that persons with disabilities and seniors in our community can continue to get where they need to go using sustainable and cost-effective specialized public transit."

Mayor Steve Ferguson, Prince Edward County



  • The 107 municipalities receiving funding through the Gas Tax program deliver public transit service to 142 communities representing more than 92 per cent of Ontario’s total population.
  • The provincial and federal governments are providing up to $2.15 billion to support municipal transit systems across the province in response to COVID-19 through the Safe Restart Agreement.
  • Ontario is developing regional plans that will help build a better transportation system across the province. The province has released draft regional transportation plans for Northern Ontario and southwestern Ontario, and planning is underway for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and eastern Ontario.

Ontario supports economic growth, job creation with additional municipal infrastructure funding



BAY OF QUINTE – The Ontario government is providing $16,951,102 to help build and repair local infrastructure in local municipalities, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte announced today. This investment is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario by getting shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure projects that support economic recovery, growth and job creation.

Through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF), the City of Belleville will receive $7,032,052 for 2022 (compared to $3,232,839 in 2021), the City of Quinte West will receive $7,531,017 (compared to $4,157,747) and Prince Edward County will receive $2,388,033 (compared to $1,147,499).

“Our municipal partners in Bay of Quinte need stable funding to address infrastructure renewal, particularly as they weather the challenges of this ongoing pandemic,” said Smith. “Our government is committed to building Ontario by making significant investments to ensure they can move forward with critical projects like upgraded roads, bridges, and water and wastewater systems.”

Today’s announcement is part of the government’s additional $1 billion investment to help build and repair roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure in small, rural and northern communities. The multi-year funding bring Ontario’s total investment to nearly $2 billion over the next five years.

“Our small, rural and northern communities will be at the forefront of our efforts to build Ontario for the future,” said Premier Doug Ford. “With this investment, we are saying ‘yes’ to helping these communities build and repair the vital infrastructure they need to keep their communities working for decades to come.”

The funding allocations are based on a formula that recognizes the different needs and economic conditions of communities across the province. The new formula will include an increased funding minimum of $100,000 for all communities per year, up from $50,000 over previous years.

“Communities are the heartbeat of this province and we know they are facing unique infrastructure needs and challenges, especially as we navigate through the pandemic,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “Our government has been with them every step of the way. When we were told more funding supports were needed, we listened and acted in a meaningful way by providing the largest OCIF increase since the start of the program. By doing so, we’re providing stability and predictability to small, rural and northern communities to repair, upgrade, and modernize their critical infrastructure so that they are safer, healthier, and more reliable for all.”

The Province’s investment in OCIF is part of the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario. The plan lays out how the government will build Ontario’s future with shovels in the ground for highways, hospitals, long-term care, housing, and high-speed internet. To ensure all families, workers and businesses in the province have a better and brighter future, the government’s planned infrastructure investments over the next decade total more than $148 billion.


“COVID has challenged our City in many ways but we have continued to safely move forward to serve and support our residents in every possible way. This important provincial funding allows us to continue the work of building a better Belleville in 2022 and we appreciate this assistance.”

Mayor Mitch Panciuk, City of Belleville

”Renewing vital infrastructure is a key priority for Prince Edward County. We are encouraged that the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) continues to be a source of stable of funding for these important projects. With funds provided through OCIF, we look forward to undertaking work to improve our roadways as well as water and wastewater infrastructure in 2022.”

Mayor Steve Ferguson, Prince Edward County

“OCIF funding allows us to make infrastructure investments that improve the day-to-day lives of our residents. We are very grateful to the province for the additional funding this year that will allow us to move forward with critical projects within the City of Quinte West.”   

Mayor Jim Harrison, City of Quinte West


  • The OCIF supports local infrastructure projects for communities with populations under 100,000, along with all rural and northern communities.
  • For 2021, approximately $200 million in funding was allocated to 424 small, rural and northern communities. Municipalities may accumulate their funding for up to five years to address larger infrastructure projects.
  • Ontario also provides funding to communities through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), a $30-billion, 10-year infrastructure program cost-shared between federal, provincial and municipal governments, and other partners. Ontario’s share per project will be up to $10.2 billion spread across five streams: Rural and Northern, Transit Infrastructure, Community, Culture and Recreation, Green and COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure.
  • The 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario is the government’s seventh financial update since the pandemic began, highlighting the government’s commitment to providing regular updates on Ontario’s finances, even during this uncertain economic period. It is part of the government’s plan for recovery driven by economic growth.