By: Leigh Blenkhorn
Deforestation and phosphate contamination were among issues raised by residents at a public information forum on creating a Lake Simcoe Plan.
Environment Minister John Gerretsen was in Barrie last week for the first of two public forums on the plan, which could come into effect by Christmas.
Residents raised concerns over deforestation around the lake and many said while phosphate contamination is a big concern, it should not be the only issue.
Some, including David Donnelly from Environmental Defence, disagreed over the definition of a lake cleanup.
“The wrong approach for us to take is to say that we need to look after the lake. The lake can look after itself,” he said. “What we need to look at is the land that polishes the water that feeds the lake.”
Mr. Gerretsen said Lake Simcoe legislation should be introduced during spring session and hopefully go for public hearings over the summer.
Legislation should come back for a third reading in the fall and the act should be passed by Christmas.
The legislation will call for a plan to be created involving public consultation, aboriginal engagement, creating a stakeholder advisory committee and research by a science advisory committee.
The second public forum was to take place yesterday in Newmarket.