May 8, 2006

Proposed bill would extend ecosystem protection to Lake Simcoe area

TORONTO, ONT-A private member's bill introduced in the Ontario Legislature by Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop would create a comprehensive protection program for the Lake Simcoe and Nottawasaga River watersheds. Bill 106, the proposed Lake Simcoe Protection Act, would allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council by regulation to designate by regulation the Lake Simcoe and Nottawasaga River natural heritage system and watershed protection area. This would encompass Lake Simcoe, Simcoe County and other areas of land prescribed by regulation, and could include all or part of the area. This designation would help ensure that any future proposed development activities take environmental effects into account in an area where rapid growth in recent years has already placed considerable stress on the region's ecosystem. Residents and local politicians are becoming increasingly concerned about Lake Simcoe's capacity to assimilate such growth without significantly impairing lake water quality. Less than half of the lake's shoreline was included in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt, and Simcoe County was excluded. The bill seeks to address these gaps.

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