Subject: Protect Lake Simcoe
Dear The Honourable Jeff Yurek,
CC: The Honourable Doug Ford, The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Andrea Khanjin
Ontario's more than 250,000 lakes contain about one-fifth of the world's fresh water. They provide habitat for countless species and are a source of drinking water for many communities.
Despite their importance, Ontario's lakes are facing mounting environmental pressures.
Lake Simcoe in particular faces serious threats, including from climate change, invasive species and phosphorus loads — too much phosphorus leads to excessive aquatic plant growth and has a negative effect on cold-water fishery.
The Lake Simcoe Protection Plan addresses these issues and lays out regulations and monitoring strategies to help combat these threats.
With the statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan due this fall, I urge you to not weaken the plan. The more than 100 policies it contains work together to create a legally-binding plan that will continue to reduce phosphorus in the watershed and ensure the wildlife and communities who rely on it have a clean source of freshwater. Weakening the protections contained in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan is unacceptable. Rather, I call on you to strengthen the policies and ensure they are implemented properly.
To better protect Lake Simcoe and provide an example for how other watershed protection plans can be implemented, I want you to:
1. Maintain the existing 44 tonne per year phosphorus loading target, and strengthen it into a legally enforceable limit on total phosphorus.
2. Maintain and strengthen the ban on new sewage treatment plants and limits on sewage treatment expansions to achieve the target.
3. Include a strategy for managing emerging contaminants.
4. Strengthen stormwater policies in the plan to require mandatory stormwater improvements in the watershed.
5. Impose clear limits on agricultural and development related nutrients.
6. Enhance funding to fully implement the plan and to enhance research supporting the Plan.
7. Strengthen protection of woodlands and wetlands.
I'm counting on you to protect Ontario's lakes and watersheds. And that starts with upholding and strengthening the policies in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.