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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lake Simcoe Protection Act - Public Viewing Available Now

Barrie’s Bryan Bolivar wants to know how the province’s Lake Simcoe Protection Act will affect his job.


Bolivar is a stormwater management engineer and as a private consultant he has a professional interest in the act.


A public open house on the act was held Feb. 4 at the Southshore Community Centre. About 100 people attended to get a glimpse of what the law entails. The act is meant to protect the plants and fish in the lake, and repair damage that’s been done in the past. It includes reducing the phosphorous in the lake, preventing surface and groundwater runoff, and addressing climate change.


The solution calls for a recreation study to look at boat traffic, banning the use of non-native live bait, and improving stormwater run-off.


“I’m trying to get a picture of what impact it will have, how it will be implemented at the design level,” said Bolivar.


He works with both municipalities and developers and said the biggest challenge will be the dealing with the various levels of review and approval.


“It’ll be in the interpretation of the act and its guidelines.”


His paycheque hinges on this new law, and knows dealing with stormwater is an important issue.


“I’m young enough that I don’t recall when phosphorous wasn’t an issue. I live in Barrie too, and I’m also interested in protecting the lake. If I can help do that through design, that’s a good thing.”


Barry Maule, who was there with his family, said he just wanted to learn more.
“I’m glad it’s been developed, but I haven’t taken a good look at (the act) yet,” said Maule.


He was encouraged by the act’s focus on the reduction of lawn fertilizer, particularly for golf courses.


“That just ends up in the lake and we use it for swimming. I have a concern for the lake, and I’d also like to know more about the Allandale marina.”


The open house was held so members of the community could voice their concerns or comments about the act.


Steve Klose, director of the Lake Simcoe Project with the Ministry of Environment, said he was surprised to see people spending time reading the in-depth act Wednesday night.


“I think they want to understand it and determine how it works,” said Klose. “Some people have asked about building a boathouse on their cottage and want to know the impact of the act.”


Experts on fisheries, water quality, and government officials were there to speak to the public.


“People are encouraged to drop off comments on the act by March 16. We’ll look at them and see how significant they are, if we need to adjust the policies.”


Klose said since the transition is underway, many independent landowners have asked how the law will impact them. “Others have said to ‘get on with it’.”


Full-day workshops are planned for community members Feb. 6, 9 and 20 and March 4. Anyone is welcome to sign up for them. To look at the act or to sign up for a public workshop, go to www.ontario.ca/lakesimcoe, or call 1-800-565-4923.

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