Georgian College students surveyed anglers in their ice huts out on frozen Lake Simcoe this past weekend, to ask their opinions about a provincial protection plan for the watershed.
Six of the 20 people surveyed were from the Lake Simcoe watershed, but many had been fishing in the area years. The students say they got a good idea of popular opinion with the informal survey.
“Most people didn’t know anything about the local issues, but practically everyone felt that new laws should apply equally to residents, cottagers, and large developers,” said Brett Jensen, senior student in the Environmental Techniques and Technology program at Georgian.
Another people said the new environmental laws should be tougher on large developments, because their impact would be proportionately larger.
“There’s a disturbingly common theme that people believe that money buys you permission to do whatever you want,” said Claire Malcolmson, Georgian professor, and Environmental Defence’s coordinator of Campaign Lake Simcoe, who organized the outing.
Anglers had several ideas about how the government can educate them about fishing responsibly. Chad Paiero, an operator of Lucky’s Sons Fish Hut Rental in Lefroy, said the government should create educational packages to remind people about updated information for fish species, catch limits, and identifying the year a fish was released, to tell its age.
Only three people surveyed knew the province was introducing new laws to protect the lake, and two of those received the information from Campaign Lake Simcoe. Many suggested the government should introduce more laws, control fertilizers, limit where new houses can be built, and mimic the Clean Water Act’s new regulations for septic systems and wastewater.
The province’s last open house on the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan is scheduled for today, from 5 to 9 p.m. in Newmarket, at 200 Doug Duncan Drive. Everyone is welcome to attend and provide comments on the plan.