Lake Simcoe should not be sold “piece-meal” – IDA
Brief to Innisfil Council December 10 2010
Prepared for Environmental Defence and the Innisfil District Association
Issue #1: Town of Innisfil and Conservation Authority Approval of Breakwaters and Revetments
Constructing the proposed breakwaters involves the deposit of a very large amount of rock (from an unknown source) into Lake Simcoe. This construction, and channel dredging puts the lake a high risk of being negatively affected. Furthermore, the construction of the breakwaters may also result in the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat, contrary to section 35 of the Fisheries Act. R. S. 1985 c. F-14. R. S. 1985 c. F-14. The scale of this work in the lake is beyond the comprehension of Campaign Lake Simcoe and Simcoe residents, some of whom who have been denied permission to make even minor changes to their waterfront and shoreline.
Issue #2: MNR Sale of Beaches and Public Land
The IDA opposes the approval of a Public Lands Act permit and sale of public land for private, commercial development. The Lake belongs to everyone and should not be sold piece-meal.
This marina project will cause disruption to the natural environment that is not minor in nature, nor short in duration. The construction of the breakwater structures and the dredging of the channel are huge undertakings that will be carried out over several construction seasons, causing a potential dramatic increase in silt, runnoff and pollution into the bay. Furthermore, the proposal will likely have harmful effects on fish habitat and could permanently alter the shoreline and lakebed, with a high potential for long-term consequences.
The IDA submits that the applications from Geranium/Kimvar should be refused, based on the MNR’s legal obligations under the Environmental Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E-18.
Issue #3: Big Bay Point Resort Should NOT Proceed
Innisfil Council must decide in this four-year term whether it wants the Big Bay Point resort to proceed.
The Background document to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan released by Minister Gerretsen advised, “Going forward the plan would not be applied to existing developments or development proposals that have already obtained significant development approvals.”
It bears repeating that the OMB said that Kimvar and Rumm must get additional approvals, including provincial environmental approvals, if the project is to proceed. The Board itself calls the Planning Act approval “conditional”:
As indicated previously, as an integral part of the planning instruments under appeal Kimvar has both recognized and provided for the reality that approvals may be needed under both provincial and federal legislation other than the Planning Act. Mr. Melling and Ms. Rosenthal [Rumm’s lawyers] submitted that their client is entitled to a decision from the Board with respect to the planning approvals it requires, accepting that all other regulatory requirements must be met for the project to proceed. The Board finds that Kimvar’s position is correct. The necessity for approvals under legislation other than the Planning Act, which guides the Board, is not a basis upon which to find the project is pre-mature.
OPA 17, the proposed zoning By-law and the Draft Plan include significant conditions that are intended to ensure that all required approvals beyond those necessary under the Planning Act are secured. If Kimvar is deficient in any area, the development simply cannot proceed. In that sense, approval from the Board is, in effect, conditional on other permits being secured
The Lake Simcoe Protection Act requires decision-makers, including the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and Innisfil Town Council, to issue environmental approvals that are consistent with the provisions of the Plan i.e. no significant shoreline alteration .
Issue #4: Innisfil Council Review of the Alcona STP
In order to accommodate the full build out of the Town of Innisfil’s currently approved (1996) Official Plan, an expansion of the existing Lakeshore Wastewater Treatment Plant in Alcona was planned and soon will be necessary – if an alternative solution is not found. In addition, the Ontario Municipal Board approved the Big Bay Point Resort development (Official Plan Amendment #17) conditional on all approvals being granted. As part of its approvals an Environmental Assessment is required to verify that sufficient capacity can be provided from the Lakeshore Wastewater Treatment Plant to service this development. A very significant outstanding concern is how the sewage will be transported to the plant, inevitably requiring a “Big Pipe”. To pay for such an enormous public works project, it is likely area residents will be required to pay for “hook-up”, potentially costing $30,000 – $40,000 per household.
Now that the Environmental Study Report has been concluded, and less costly and more sustainable alternatives exist, Council can and should pick a different, less costly option than running a huge pipe up to Big Bay Point. In addition, the public consultation process under the EA has been tainted by the chill of Kimvar lawsuits against project opponents.
Issue #5: Innisfil Council Transparency and Apology – SLAPP Suits and OMB Costs Claim
The Innisfil District Association is a residents Association for the people of Big Bay Point. In December 2007,the Town of Innisfil made the extraordinary decision to support the Kimvar claim to the Ontario Municipal Board for $3.6 million in adverse costs. The claim failed and in any event, Kimvar indemnified the Town of Innisfil for its hearing costs. In other words, the costs claim was punitive. The IDA is owed an explanation from Council how and why it made its decision to proceed against residents. An apology should follow.