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Monday, December 18, 2006

Growth may overwhelm region, MPP warns

Growth may overwhelm region, MPP warns

Governments must step up to the plate to ensure communities nestled on Lake Simcoe can handle the significant growth that is headed their way, says Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop.
"I'm not going to let it drop, because it is important to me and it is important to my constituents," he said recently.

Dunlop recently won unanimous support for a resolution that seeks to save Lake Simcoe from the impact of development.

The document calls on present and future governments to protect and improve water quality by providing infrastructure dollars necessary to accommodate growth in communities bordering the lake.

Many of those communities continue to rely on private wells and septic systems rather than environmentally-friendly municipal services, Dunlop said.

When the time comes to install sewer and water systems, governments cannot expect residents to shoulder the entire burden, and must be at the ready with funding assistance, he added.

"You can't say in the end that septics don't eventually seep into the water," he said.

"All these (upgrades) we need as the region grows."

A provincially-driven plan that directs much of the region's future growth to areas bordering the lake places added pressure on this important resource, Dunlop said.

The so-called Intergovernmental Action Plan, or IGAP as it has come to be known, names the south end of Simcoe County as the area most likely to house new development.

"They are talking about adding over 250,000 people over 25 years," he added.

"The growth really should be more spread out than that."

Having the Legislative Assembly on record as supporting the resolution represents an important first step in the effort to protect what Dunlop calls "an integral part of the heritage and culture of the region.

"It means governments will have to pay attention to things like the amount of money that is invested in infrastructure," he said.

"It can become part of parties' platforms, it can become a budget item," he added.

The resolution also calls on the province to recognize the work of various stakeholders involved in efforts to promote water-quality protection and improvement of the Lake Simcoe watershed.

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