Toronto – Campaign Lake Simcoe and its many supporters applauded Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen’s introduction of the Lake Simcoe Protection Act in the Legislature today. The Act is a tremendously positive step in protecting this beautiful lake and the regional economy of which it is the heart.
“The Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition was created specifically to bring people and government together to work on solutions for our ailing lake. We have done it, and today I couldn’t be more proud of both the province and the citizens of Lake Simcoe,” said Robert Eisenberg, the Founding Chair of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition.
“The introduction of this Act demonstrates the province hears Lake Simcoe’s cries for help. Now, we need to come together to help this wonderful lake, the lands that flow into it, and the people who live here to ensure all become in synch environmentally,” said Annabel Slaight, Co-Founder of the Ladies of the Lake.
“A new day is dawning for Lake Simcoe. This Act is very positive and we look forward to working with the government over the next nine months to make the forthcoming Protection Plan as strong as possible,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.
In addition to providing the framework for the creation of a detailed Plan that will outline specific measures to protect the Lake, the Lake Simcoe Protection Act includes the following important protections:
1. Allows for the setting of ambitious phosphorus regulations and targets;
2. Mandates identification and protection of linked key natural heritage areas and shorelines;
3. Can apply to an area large enough to protect Lake Simcoe from sources of pollution;
4. Ensures a new governance structure that is inclusive, representative, and independent with a direct line reporting to the Ontario Government; and,
5. Ensures that large scale developments and marina resorts such as Big Bay Point are subject to, and consistent with, the Act.
“This Act will address the need to reduce phosphorus levels and nutrient overload in the lake. It will also conserve areas that are vital to water quality and quantity and safeguard habitat for the more than 40 endangered species that live in this fragile watershed,” said Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature.
Members of Campaign Lake Simcoe will be working hard over the summer and into the fall to ensure that the final Act is as strong as possible, and that the associated Plan contains the essential elements for Lake Simcoe’s protection.
About Campaign Lake Simcoe: (www.campaignlakesimcoe.ca) Campaign Lake Simcoe is a partnership of Environmental Defence, the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition and Ontario Nature and welcomes participation from all citizen groups who care about Lake Simcoe.
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280 -9521 (cell)
Robert Eisenberg, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, (416) 484-1250 x 220
Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature, (416) 416-444-8419 x 237, (416) 768-9795 (cell)