Staff at North Bay City Hall have their work cut out for them over the next week-and-half.

On Tuesday and Wednesday staff met with stakeholders and members of the public to get input on how the provincial government should change the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Wednesday’s meeting was attended by about 70 residents and they heard about some of the changes the province is considering.

Bev Hillier, the City’s planning manager, said one of those changes was to include a landscape approach in the ESA.

However, Hillier said more detail was needed by what the province meant by this.

Although the Wednesday meeting was intended to deal with input on the ESA, people raised the issue about developments and significant wetlands several times.

Hillier says current legislation won’t allow development on wetlands.

She also said the issue of wetlands was a debate for a future time.

About 70 residents took in a meeting to discuss changes to the Endangered Species Act

Wednesday’s meeting had to stay on the ESA topic because the staff needs to get the public’s input to council in time for the February 26th meeting.

The province has set March 4th as the deadline for all comments across Ontario to be received.

Hiller says if council agrees with the staff report, then it will form council’s position on the ESA.

Hiller said during the meeting that the goal is to have an ESA that works for North Bay.

She says there are times when the city struggles with implementation and process and Hiller is hearing there’s a desire to clear up the implementation issue.

In the meeting with stakeholders on Tuesday, which included some of the same people at the Wednesday meeting, the city wanted to know what challenges, if any, they face under the ESA.

“What does it mean to North Bay from a development standpoint and environmental standpoint,” she said.

“That helps us understand what it means locally and how to respond.”

Hillier says whether council accepts the staff report is up to the elected officials and she adds council can also include its own comments in the report that goes to the provincial government.