Chris Simon
Innisfil Scope
A ‘fortified embankment’ at the Big Bay Point Resort has become the latest battleground between Kimvar Enterprises and Environmental Defence.
Representatives from the developer and environmental lobbyist organization each presented delegations to Innisfil council last week. Environmental Defence claims the revetment, which would be constructed in the lake to prevent erosion and offer a secure launching point for boats, has been developed without scrutiny from various levels of government.
“Kimvar is proposing to build massive breakwaters and revetment — a french term for fortified embankments,” said David Donnelly, a lawyer working on behalf of Environmental Defence and the Innisfil District Association, suggesting the the battlement would become the largest in-water project in the lake’s history. “These revetments, involving granite boulders, will be four metres high in places, and stretch hundreds of metres in length. Everyone in this room knows of a resident who has tried to relocate their dock or move a few rocks in front their house, who would have been warned by the conservation authority or even prosecuted. Yet this town is about to be home of one of the biggest infrastructure projects into (the) lake in history. Nobody knows anything about it. The town needs to take a look at these massive works.”
But Kimvar’s lawyer, Susan Rosenthal, says the revetment has been included in the project’s design for years. And the project, first proposed in 2002, has been supported by Innisfil, County of Simcoe and provincial governments, and was approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.
“I want this council to understand the construction of the marina, the entranceway and the intention has been part of the reporting process since 2002,” he said. “It hasn’t changed since that time. Transport Canada approved the entranceway, it’s been looked at by the Department (of Oceans and Fisheries), who have determined there’s no negative impact to the fishery. It’s been looked at very closely by every level of government and found acceptable. This has not been a secret process.”
Earlier this year, Innisfil council unanimously passed bylaws that allow preliminary work to begin on the 235- hectare resort, once specific site conditions have been met. Tree cutting has since started on parts of the resort property that are not regulated by the LSRCA.
Initial work will include tree clearing in a section of the site, grubbing and stumping, haul road construction, marina basin excavation and the shaping of the site’s proposed golf course.
Once complete, 1,600 residential housing units and 400 hotel rooms would be built on the site.
It will also include 87- hectares of environmentally protected land, a golf course, 1,000-slip marina, conference centre, theatre, an indoor sports, recreation and fitness facility and retail space.
“We have to respect other bodies within the process,” said town engineer and director of infrastructure Jim Zimmerman, addressing council during the meeting.
“While we would review what’s happening with these submissions, with respect to the other bodies of government, we would not be in a position to oppose the direction they’ve taken.”