Hello Lake Lovers,
The Province released a public survey about the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan on Friday December 18th:
Public survey: Lake Simcoe Protection Plan 10-year review
If you really want to do the province’s survey we have suggested answers for some of the questions, here:
Q. 2. What do you think about the current policies in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan?
Choose OTHER and add: I think the policies of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan need to be implemented and financially resourced.
Q. 5. Which of the following policy areas do you think need improvement to better protect the health of the Lake Simcoe watershed? Rank them in order of importance, with 1 being the most important to improve and 10 being the least important to improve.
1. Protecting natural areas or features such as wetlands and forest cover
2. Improving development practices (such as site alteration or resource extraction)
3. Improving municipal infrastructure (such as stormwater ponds and sewage plants)
4. Encouraging agricultural stewardship of the environment
Choose Other and add: Reduce Phosphorus loading.
Q. 6. Please share any details on the policy areas you identified as most important.
- Reach Phosphorus reduction target: Consult widely then revise the Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Reduction Strategy to make it actionable, with interim targets and funding solutions for each sector. Maintain the prohibition on new Sewage Treatment Plants discharging to Lake Simcoe.
- Strengthen Natural Heritage policy: The LSPP has a target of 40% high quality natural cover (HQNC) but there are no policies to achieve the target. 28% of the watershed is “high quality natural cover” but only half of that is well protected by provincial policies. Achieving natural heritage targets can be improved by focusing research and analysis on the land around the areas that qualify as high quality natural cover but are not well protected by policy.
Increase policy protections, prohibiting site alteration and development, for these unprotected or somewhat protected areas, to protect all of the High Quality Natural Cover that we have.
Focus Traditional Ecological Knowledge study, restoration, and land trust property acquisition efforts around those areas that are HQNC but not protected and areas that are almost big enough to qualify as HQNC (25 hectares plus).
The Province must review Official Plans for conformity to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, and specifically to the technical Natural Heritage guidelines for the Lake Simcoe watershed.
- Development practices: The results of the Phosphorus Offset Program must be analyzed to determine how well the remediation actions (AKA Best Management Practices) are working, and to determine how long the offsets last. Consider strengthening development offsets to achieve Phosphorus reduction targets.
- Improving municipal infrastructure: Financially support the improvement of ineffective or absent municipal stormwater facilities.
- Give the LSRCA all the powers it had before December 2020. Deny the use of Minister’s Zoning Orders in the Lake Simcoe watershed, particularly if Natural Heritage is affected. Disable the ability of the Minister to override science based decisions of the Conservation Authority in the Lake Simcoe watershed.
- Agriculture: Pay farmers for agricultural riparian / shoreline areas planting and rehabilitation. Maintain / fund programs that assist in reducing fertilizer application, and no-till practices.
Q. 7. Are there new policy areas that we should consider?
Choose Yes. Please provide details:
Determine cost of achieving the phosphorus reduction target, and allow development cost charges for new developments in the Lake Simcoe watershed to pay for the remediation of the lake. Amend the Development Charges Act to allow municipalities to recover 100% of their additional infrastructure costs to service new residential and commercial projects from their developers.
Q. 8. Do you have any ideas to share with us about how the province along with its partners can implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan more consistently and effectively?
Review all OPs for conformity to LSPP, and make the results and recommendations public.
Develop subwatershed targets and aggressive timelines for achieving Natural Heritage targets. Work with municipalities, Conservation Authorities and land trusts to achieve them.
Protect wetlands and wetland complexes of all sizes in all situations.
Have the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) review all development permit applications, as per their pre-December 2020 powers. Make Ramara a member of the LSRCA.
Only permit new development where municipal water and sewer servicing allocation exists, where an assessment of cumulative impacts determines that there will be a net benefit to water quality, and where the development will reduce phosphorus loads to the lake, from both sewage and stormwater.
Do a 360 review of Innisfil’s Our Shore policy (with affected members of the public); Develop a shoreline policy for all municipalities.
Determine cost of achieving the phosphorus reduction target, and assign an increased development cost charge for new developments in the Lake Simcoe watershed to pay for the remediation of the lake.
Communicate with the public about action taken, costs, rationale.
Q. 10. How can the government improve the way we report on the health of Lake Simcoe?
Systematically track and report progress against the targets of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.
Identify costs per Kg of phosphorus reduced of all actions taken, and the source of revenue for that action or Best Management Practice (BMP).
Take the next step with subwatershed plans by developing targets and action plans and report on the achievement of those in that subwatershed.