The Ontario government is investing $5 million in the Muskoka Region.

The money is going towards a Watershed Conservation and Management Initiative. In today’s announcement, the government said the initiative is “to help better identify the risks and issues facing the Muskoka Region, allowing the community and province to work together to protect this vital area.”

“Local residents and visitors love the Muskoka Region for its beautiful waterways, wildlife and other unique physical features. Working with the people who live in our communities, municipalities and businesses to protect and conserve this area ensures the Muskoka Watershed will remain a beloved Ontario destination for many more generations,” said Norm Miller, Parry Sound-Muskoka’s Progressive Conservative MPP.

“The Muskoka Watershed is one of the highlights of our province and a vibrant hub of Ontario’s tourism industry,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “This is why we are committed to working with the local community to protect it. Together, we will ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and the economic benefits this watershed brings to the region.”

On top of the $5 million, the government says it will also match tax-deductible donations from people and businesses to the initiative, and any funding from other levels of government, up to a total of an additional $5 million.

The government says it’s going to form an advisory group in the coming weeks which will be reaching out to a wide variety of local interests to get an idea of what projects should be a priority for this initiative. That approach, the government believes, will help it build a more comprehensive method of watershed management, both now and for the future.

The government says the Muskoka Region Watershed Conservation and Management Initiative will also address concerns raised by members of the community about projects such as the North Bala Small Hydro Project.

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