Excerpt: “ORA supports the clarity in Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy that the goal that appeared in draft form as “protecting water” has been refined to “protecting water for human and ecological health” (p.30). Our concern is that the cumulative impact of various decisions that impact the waters in our rivers and streams (as evidenced by the example of Wabagishik Lake above) must be addressed urgently. The focus on improving wetlands, beaches and coastal areas, without also ensuring the rivers and streams feeding these features are being protected and improved as well, will not enable the vision of the proposed Act to be realized.
ORA recommends that, should Bill 6 be enacted, the Province immediately place a moratorium on all hydroelectric approvals within the Basin, until such time as their well-documented and substantial impacts on the health of the Great Lakes can be effectively assessed and addressed. The 40 year FIT contracts awarded to hydroelectric projects would ensure a long and lasting impact that could be very costly to stop or reverse once approved.” Continue reading
On February 25, 2013, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Jim Bradley, re-introduced the Great Lakes Protection Act, the government’s first major step in implementing its Great Lakes Strategy released in December 2012. Given the central role that the Great Lakes play in the lives of the majority of Ontarians, it is expected that the Great Lakes Strategy and proposed Act will play a significant role in the province’s regulatory framework.
Background: Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy (December 2012)
Amidst growing concerns about the effects of population growth, new chemicals of concern, invasive species, climate change, and other new challenges facing Ontario’s critically-important Great Lakes, the Government of Ontario began pursuing a “Great Lakes Strategy” in 2009 with the release of a discussion paper entitled “Healthy Lakes, Strong Ontario.” In June 2012, Ontario issued a draft version of the Great Lakes Strategy and engaged scientific experts and community stakeholders – including First Nations and Métis communities – in a series of public consultations. This process culminated in the Ontario Great Lakes Strategy report (GLS), released in December 2012.
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