Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition: Open Letter to Minister David Piccini
This is a brief version of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition’s letter to Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Minister David Piccini.April 6, 2023Dear Minister Piccini,
This week you rose in the legislature this week to remind us of your commitments to putting the infrastructure in place to manage the impacts of growth at Lake Simcoe: (https://twitter.com/DavidPiccini/status/1643328020122304513). And yet, despite your assurances, we await the results of the 2019 statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP), the release of years of important science, and a plan to build the phosphorus reclamation plant on the Holland River.
Our top requests:
- Release all the science that has been collected about Lake Simcoe and its fish;
- Ensure that lukewarm results are not presented as wins; ie. oxygen levels are not really improving, and yet the province keeps claiming they are;
- In the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP) review, identify how the province is handling:
- The Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Offset program (now that the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority cannot perform this task);
- How Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) and planned urban / suburban growth impacts conform to the LSPP’s phosphorus reduction target;
- Updating the Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Reduction Strategy, which was slated for 2021;
- Meeting the LSPP target of 40% High Quality Natural Cover in the watershed;
- How water and wastewater management will remain cost-effective, efficient, be coordinated across the watershed, and continue to conform to the LSPP in the absence of Regional planning.
- Host a public session to present the data that justifies any proposed changes to the LSPP;
- Show the public that the province is taking a leadership role in getting the phosphorus reclamation plant built on the Holland River;
- Chloride contamination is getting worse, and yet the province insists the Bradford Bypass “will not pollute Lake Simcoe” although it is not even studying the impacts to Lake Simcoe. Reconsider the highway route and / or develop strong salt mitigation policies;
- Make the work of the Lake Simcoe Science and Coordinating Committees public.
It is critical that science drives watershed management, policy decisions and any possible changes to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. The Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition is concerned because the province has been extremely slow to do the LSPP review, release scientific information, or acknowledge the disconnect between provincial policy changes and their impacts on Lake Simcoe. We fear this is a case of thinking you can have your cake and eat it too.
Given the concerns laid out above, we look forward to understanding how the province is going to make good on this statement from the recently released Lake Simcoe Annual Report, 2019 – 2020 report: “We will continue to build on our progress and to adapt our approach over time to address emerging threats and compounding stressors in the watershed to ensure Lake Simcoe can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Claire MalcolmsonExecutive Director, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition
The Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition is a lake-wide member-based organization, representing 29 groups in the Lake Simcoe watershed, that provides leadership and inspires people to take action to protect Lake Simcoe.
read the full letter here