LSCA okays Big Bay Point treecutting
By MARG. BRUINEMAN Barrie Examiner
A highly-contested marina resort project in Innisfil has been given the green light to clearcut a section of a Big Bay Point wetland.
Members of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority approved the application by Kimvar Enterprises during a meeting at Barrie’s Southshore Community Centre, Friday.
“I’m happy because it’s the right thing,” said Earl Rumm, president of Geranium Corporation, which is developing the property into a waterside resort.
Cutting on the 230.4-hectare property had already begun, but the development required consent from the conservation authority for part of the property.
Michael Walters, general manager of watershed management for the conservation authority, told the board the subject land does contain some wetland, but it’s considered not ecologically significant.
The developers are also expected to replace every removed tree with two more.
Rumm said clearcutting will continue, followed by a clean-up of the site in the summer. Engineer
ing of the property is expected to begin within the year.
By the middle of next year Rumm hopes to begin on the ground work.
“So we’re excited, eight years of planning and now we get to put people to work,” he said.
The project has been highly contested by area landowners who say the conservation authority failed to see the forest through the trees with Friday’s decision.
“We think there shouldn’t be any alteration of the site until they get all the conditions satisfied,” said Don Avery of the Innisfil District Association.
“I would have preferred them to defer the whole thing,” said John Johnston, who spoke on behalf of some residents. “It’s a little odd that you approve the cutting down of a while bunch of trees… if there’s a doubt about approving the overall project down the road.”
Friday’s decision only relates to the removal of trees. Geranium will have to go back to the conservation authority to get its blessing on the development project itself.
The Geranium development was approved by the County of Simcoe, the Town of Innisfil, the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Municipal Board, in 2007.
It will feature a 1,000-slip marina, 1,600 resort condominium units and 400 resort hotel rooms on more than 560 acres of property.
It will also feature an 18-hole Doug Carrick-designed championship golf course, sporting, recreational and cultural activities and amenities along with 190 acres of environmentally-protected, forested land.