• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Time to end second-class status for Lake Simcoe wetlands

In Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
Nov 17th, 2013

From North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance November 17 2013

Next Friday, November 22nd, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) board will decide if wetlands in our area deserve the same degree of protection as those found in the territories of our five neighbouring conservation authorities. Today, only the LSRCA leaves the door wide open to development in provincially significant wetlands. None of our neighbouring conservation authorities have such lax protection for fast vanishing wetlands that are crucial for protecting both water quality and quantity in our lakes and rivers.

Since we first spoke out on this issue, LSRCA staff have recommended a modest improvement: changing language that says the authority ‘shall’ issue permits for development in such areas to ‘may’. This change will continue to treat Lake Simcoe wetlands as second-class natural areas despite what we all know – water quality and quantity in Lake Simcoe is imperilled and we need to do everything we can to protect and restore natural areas in its watershed. ‘May’ is simply not good enough and still leaves plenty of room for developments like the proposed Maple Lake Estates to proceed despite its completely inappropriate location and the damage it will do to vital natural systems.

The role of conservation authorities is to manage watersheds to protect water quality and quantity and guard against flooding. You can’t do that while offering only optional protection for some of our most important wetlands. The members of the LSRCA must understand that Georgina residents will not accept a second-class decision. At their meeting next Friday, they must match the level of protection for wetlands offered by our neighbours. It is time to close this gaping development-at-any-cost loophole once and for all. Please contact Georgina Councillor Phil Craig and ask him to move a motion to eliminate the wetland loophole. Please also ask Councillor Craig to request a recorded vote on his motion.

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