Rescue Lake Simcoe Charitable Foundation
120 Primeau Dr.
Aurora, ON L4G 6Z4
Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks
College Park 5th Flr,
777 Bay St, Toronto, ON M7A 2J3
December 23, 2021
Dear Hon. Piccini,
The Made in Ontario Environment Plan commits the province to: “Build on previous successes and continue to implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan to protect and restore important natural areas and features of the lake.” It is the Christmas wish of the 28 signatory groups to this letter that you honour that promise.
In early 2019, the year the statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan was to commence, the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition launched the Protect Our Plan (POP) campaign, promoting the importance of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. The Province hosted a survey, an online consultation and an online science forum in early 2020. The list of extensive consultation, education, and engagement conducted by the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition is available at Rescue Lake Simcoe.
In short, we have tremendous public support for the outcome of the review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan to be a recommitment to implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, and not to weaken it.
The undersigned request that the province of Ontario, led by the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, make good on this promise by undertaking the following:
There are two simple ways the province can action this promise:
- Pay the balance to build the Holland Marsh Phosphorus Reclamation Centre.
- Increase Natural Heritage protections through the implementation of the Growth Plan Natural Heritage System via the Municipal Comprehensive Review underway.
1. Pay the balance to build the Holland Marsh Phosphorus Reclamation Centre:
Sixteen million dollars in Federal money is on the table, and if Ontario does not pay the balance and get the Reclamation Centre off the ground, no phosphorus reduction will have been made other than those offsets required under the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP). Phosphorus (P) loads have gone up since 2008 and the P loads from the massive amounts of new development being pushed through the Municipal Comprehensive Review will worsen the situation, even with the LSPP’s development, stormwater management, and P load offset policies in place.
Paying York Region’s share of the Holland Marsh Phosphorus Reclamation Centre would be a step in the right direction.The reclamation centre is anticipated to remove a minimum of 2.5 tonnes / year of the current P loads to Lake Simcoe. For context, the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan P load target is 44 tonnes / year. The current ten year average load is roughly 90 tonnes / year. The province must make progress towards achieving the LSPP P load target.
2. Increase Natural Heritage protections through the implementation of the Growth Plan Natural Heritage System via the Municipal Comprehensive Review underway.
This can be done in the following ways:
Direct upper tier municipalities in the Lake Simcoe watershed to:
- Use the province’s 2011 map of High Quality Natural Cover1 in the Lake Simcoe watershed in their NHS mapping;
- Limit removals to the province’s NHS map in areas of High Quality Natural Cover, to approved plans of subdivision that conform the the Growth Plan, and were in approved settlement area boundaries as of July 1, 2017;
- Not remove small patches of natural heritage within mapped areas of High Quality Natural Cover.
We wish to draw your attention to municipal resolutions that support this action. The following Lake Simcoe municipalities passed the resolution below: Aurora, Barrie, Brock, Georgina, Georgina Island First Nation Band Council, and Orillia.
WHEREAS a healthy environment provides the foundation for healthy communities, healthy people, and a healthy economy;
and WHEREAS the passage of the Lake Simcoe Protection Act received unanimous, all party support in the Ontario legislature in 2008;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, THAT the Town of X calls on the Ontario Government to demonstrate its commitment to clean water and protecting what matters most in the provincial statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, by ensuring that provisions in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan that protect water quality are not weakened and that policies protecting natural heritage be strengthened, in order to meet the targets of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan;
and THAT the Ontario Government be requested to work collaboratively with affected Provincial Ministries and all levels of government, including First Nations and Métis, to achieve the goals and targets of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan and to resource the programs that improve Lake Simcoe’s water quality during the provincial statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan; and THAT copies of this resolution be provided to …
Additionally, Newmarket, Oro-Medonte, and Whitchurch Stouffville passed resolutions supporting the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan in its review.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, one in which Lake Simcoe will get the help it has been promised.
Claire Malcolmson Executive 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. www.rescuelakesimcoe.org
1 This provincial map has been available on LIO since 2011. In 2011 there was 28% High Quality Natural Cover in the Lake Simcoe watershed, and only half of that was well protected by provincial policy. The LSPP’s target is 40% High Quality Natural Cover. There is no provincial plan to achieve this target.
SIGNATORIES (many of these are outside of our coalition):
Barrillia Park Ratepayers Association (Inc)
Canadian Freshwater Alliance
Concerned Citizens of King Township
Concerned Citizens of Ramara
DeGrassi Cove Association
Environmental Defence Canada
Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods
Friends of Kingston
Inner Harbour Innisfil District Association
North American Native Plant Society
North Mara Beach Residents Association
Oakvillegreen Conservation Association
Ontario Headwaters Institute
Orillia Naturalists’ Club
Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition
Religious Society Of Friends (Newmarket Quakers)
Save Our Water
Save the Maskinonge
Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition
South Lake Simcoe Naturalists
Wasaga Beach Climate Action
West Oro Ratepayers Association
Windfall Ecology Centre
York Simcoe Nature Club
More information can be found at Rescue Lake Simcoe.