Toronto – Campaign Lake Simcoe posts its response to the province’s “Protecting Lake Simcoe” discussion paper on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry today, marking the end of the public comment period on the province’s discussion paper. Campaign Lake Simcoe’s “What it Takes to Save Lake Simcoe: A Citizen Response” is endorsed by 41 groups around the lake, making “What it Takes…” the definitive voice of concerned citizens.Supportive groups range in size and reach from the Federation of Ontario Cottagers to Kids for Turtles, but they all share a passion for saving the lake.
Throughout April, the provincial Ministry of the Environment hosted two public information forums and three stakeholder workshops to gather ideas about what should be included in the Lake Simcoe Protection Act and Plan. Hundreds attended, including people representing charities, students, municipalities, farmers, cottagers, the Conservation Authority, and the development industry.
The dominant comment made at the meetings was that the province’s strategy for Lake Simcoe needs to go further than protecting water quality and quantity, unless we accept the notion of turning Lake Simcoe into Simcoe reservoir. Repeatedly,  people said that it is unrealistic to talk about saving a lake without identifying, linking, and protecting the woodlands, wetlands, and agricultural areas which surround it.
When the province released its discussion paper on March 27, 2008 at Queen’s Park, the Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, said, “I want our strategy for protecting Lake Simcoe to set the gold standard for creating sustainable communities that safeguard the environment they depend on and enjoy.”
 “In order to ‘get the gold’ the province needs to respond to what was said at the public consultations about protecting green space and developing appropriate land use policies in the Lake Simcoe area. We are taking the Minister at his word, and believe the province will do what it takes to set the standard,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.
 “What it Takes to Save Lake Simcoe” can be downloaded for free online: http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/campaignlakesimcoe/pub/CLSFinalResponseDiscPaperAp08.pdf
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)