2021 PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
Fellow MEA Members
I am incredibly humbled to have this opportunity to take on the role of President of the MEA. Over the last few years on the MEA Board, I have been fortunate to work with a great group of people and am proud to have been a part of MEA’s success as an organization. I thank the Board of directors for their confidence in me and I am committed to working with staff and the new Board over the upcoming year. Also, welcome to new Board Members Amanda Froese (Town of Saugeen Shores) and Taylor Crinklaw (City of Woodstock).
Certainly, these are challenging times – on one hand we all are dealing with the Pandemic and resulting impacts to the economy in our own personal lives; and many of us deal with the pandemic in our day-to-day work. At the same time, the Province, through the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) are looking to make changes and considering what measures they can put in place to assist municipalities accelerate the delivery of municipal infrastructure. They want to consult with the MEA and other organizations to better understand the challenges and barriers we are facing in delivering local linear infrastructure projects. They want to explore what new authorities municipalities may need to accelerate the delivery of these projects. While it is good news, it will keep the MEA Board and many of our members busy. We will also need to make sure that while these measures may help accelerate projects, those same measures may work against a municipality, for example when considering a development proposal.
The MEA’s key focus areas are the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA), Ontario Provincial Standards (OPS) and the important work our members do in participating on the various committees relating to these areas.
Over the next year, we are going to be working very closely with the MECP as they put in place the major amendments to the MCEA and require us to re-issue the MCEA document. We will also work with the MECP on their new initiative to streamline the EA process and possibly replace the MCEA process as we know it. It was the MEA who spearheaded the creation of the MCEA many years ago and we want to ensure we are at the table to represent the interest of our members and the municipalities they work for.
On the OPS front, we continue to support the OPS and as you also heard we are taking steps to promote and educate municipalities through the OPS 101 course, that we started delivering in November of 2020. )ur members continue to volunteer and participate on 11 OPS Boards and Committees.
I know our members look forward to the Annual Conference for professional development, networking, technical tours and the annual hockey game. Unfortunately, due to the Pandemic, we were not able to have a conference in 2020. As anyone who has organized a conference will tell you, it takes a lot of time, effort, dedication and commitment to put on a conference. Our colleagues at the City of Toronto had indicated their interest and committed to holding the 2020 Conference - but the MEA Board believed it would not be fair to ask any municipality to take on the responsibility when we know everyone is struggling with the uncertainty and demands brought on by the Pandemic. So, what about next year? I don’t think anyone can predict what the situation will be this time next year but I can assure you, we will have a conference in November of 2021 even if it has to be through an online platform. We will have a better idea in around March of 2020 on the form of the conference.
Lastly, as the Pandemic rages on and we continue to be in unchartered territory, you may find yourself wondering how to do certain things in your municipality. How do you deal with a particular staffing issue, problem with some equipment, material shortage, etc.. We are an organization of over 960 municipal engineers. You can bet that the problem you are trying to address, is not unique. We can lean on each other for support and assistance. You know we have forums where you can reach out to the membership and ask your questions. Failing that, you can reach out to our Executive Director, Dan Cozzi - he will direct your question to the membership to try and get you an answer. Please, seek out the help you need.
So again, I am very thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to working with the board for this upcoming term.
Salim Alibhai, P.Eng., PMP
President - Municipal Engineers Association
(Director of Capital Planning & Delivery -
Transportation Services, York Region)
2020-2021 Board of Directors
Salim Alibhai, P. Eng. - President
Jason Cole, P. Eng. - Vice President
Matthew Miedema, P.Eng. - Secretary/Treasurer
Roslyn Lusk, P.Eng. - Past President
Christine Adams, P.Eng. - Director
Nick Colucci, P.Eng. - Director
Chris Traini, P.Eng. - Director
Catherine Taddo, P.Eng. - Director
Amanda Froese, P. Eng. - Director
Taylor Crinklaw, P. Eng. - Director
Dan Cozzi, P.Eng. - Executive Director
Amin Mniena, E.I.T. - Member Services Coordinator