By IAN MCINROY
Thursday April 17, 2008
 Barrie Advance
Area residents jammed an east-end hall last night to have their say about how to save Lake Simcoe.
Organizers of the public information forum, which included Environment Minister John Gerretsen and Barrie MPP Aileen Carroll, entertained questions and comments from some of the 150 people gathered at the Lion’s Gate Banquet Centre.
The forum centred around the government’s discussion paper, Protecting Lake Simcoe: Creating Ontario’s Strategy for Action. With input from the public, the paper will eventually lead to the introduction of the Lake Simcoe Protection Act.
With baby daughter Tayte hanging in a carrier from her shoulders, Andee Pelan attended last night’s meeting because the lake and its future are important to her and her family.
She wants her daughter to be able to enjoy Lake Simcoe as she has.
“I’m here with my mom tonight, so we have three generations (that are concerned about the lake),” she said, adding that the forum was “a step in the right direction. But unless there’s actual teeth in it, it scares me that it’s just going to be a lot of words,” she said, citing one solution to the lake’s woes.
“There is no legal mechanism for stopping people from mowing their lawns right down to the water. That’s one of the most ecologically damaging things you can do. The lake is a community resource. We share it with the animals and the fish,” Pelan said.
Oro-Medonte farmer John Dunsmore agrees.
“I think they should regulate the cutting of trees within a certain distance of the shoreline. It provides shade for fish and other animals living there and helps protect the shoreline,” he said.
Pelan is also concerned that there isn’t enough education about the lake, something the protection act should address.
“Why isn’t there a course on Lake Simcoe in the schools? People don’t know about their own ecosystems,” she said.