Premier Dalton McGuinty came calling Friday with good news for Lake Simcoe, but some of the details may not sit well with opponents of a resort development at Big Bay Point.
McGuinty was a surprise visitor at Friday’s Lake Simcoe Summit, organized by Campaign Lake Simcoe and the Ladies of the Lake to prod the Ontario government into passing legislation to protect the lake.
“I am here today to support your efforts, that’s why I’m pleased to announce that our government will introduce the Lake Simcoe Protection Act,” said McGuinty.
“Our act will give the force of law to the scientific premise that has been undertaken in recent years.”
However, McGuinty said the act would not apply to the Big Bay Point development. Rather, the legislation would deal with new development, not plans already approved, such as the resort.
Both Innisfil and county council have approved the resort. Recently, the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing signed off on the development.
The proposed act would raise sewage treatment standards and set limits on pollutants such as phosphorous and promote recreational opportunities while protecting the lake.
It would also create a governance structure recommended by the Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy Working Group.
The announcement was met with a standing ovation from the over 200 people in attendance at the summit.
Jane Meredith, co-founder of Ladies of the Lake, an organization working to protect the lake, said she was stunned when the announcement was made.
“It’s just absolutely spectacular, it’s the most enormous thing that’s ever happened to the lake,” she said. “There’s no going back now, it’s full steam ahead.”