Who is on an EAC?
The EACs in Ontario vary in size from as few as five members to as many as 24. The larger the municipality, the larger the EAC. Typically an EAC is comprised of local citizens chosen by the municipal Council for their environmental expertise and community experience. Knowledge is often sought in the areas of :
- Resource management
- Environmental Planning
- Natural History
- Environmental Education
Citizen members sit on EACs as volunteers. They are usually not there to represent any organizations, even though they may be involved in groups with environmental mandates. A few EACs, however, specifically call for representatives of certain organizations and most have at least one councilor, who can be an important link to the whole Council. Staff of a municipal department may provide administrative support to the committee.
An EAC may report: directly to Council (often most successful arrangement) or to a Council committee which then reports to the full range of Council or to the Planning Department. Since land use planning often has political elements and since the ultimate decisions are made by the politicians on Council, EACs can probably be most effective when they are independent of municipal staff and have strong link to Council.
An EAC should not be confused with an environment committee of a municipal council. Such a committee has only councilors as members and does not provide the same services that a true EAC can.