Lake Manitou Area Association clarifies McLay story items

To the Expositor:

The Lake Manitou Area Association (LMAA) would like to clarify a few items noted in the June 5 edition’s article regarding the proposed McLay subdivision on Lake Manitou.

Firstly, the article implies that the negotiations between the developer and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAH) could remove the matter from Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) authority. This is not the case. Any proposed resolution is then circulated to all parties for comment, with final resolution still subject to OMB authority and ruling.

LMAA was granted ‘party’ status at the May 1, 2012 OMB pre-hearing, and as such will have the opportunity to review and comment on any proposed resolution reached between the other two ‘parties.’ OMB would then make the final determination.

Secondly, the wording of the June 5 article implies that LMAA’s objection to the development (stated at the OMB pre-hearing) was based on a subjective feeling (LMAA, “felt the lake could not withstand any additional development”). This is not the case. LMAA’s objection is based on several years of monitoring by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) which demonstrate that deepwater dissolved oxygen levels are already below the provincial standard of 7 mg/L for the maintenance of lake trout fisheries.

No single measurement was 7 mg/L or higher, with the averages of 6.5 mg/L for the lake’s eastern basin and only 2.7 mg/L for the lake’s western basin. Designated “lake trout lakes” (Lake Manitou is so-designated) are considered “at capacity” once deepwater oxygen levels are below 7 mg/L, and applicable provincial guidance states that no further development/alteration shall be allowed on lakes which are “at capacity.”

LMAA was not invited to participate in the negotiations between MAH and the developer (an exclusion which is allowed under OMB procedures). As a consequence, we are not yet familiar with any details of the proposed settlement. It would presumably need to contain credible, demonstrated provisions for guaranteeing no further impact on Lake Manitou and its provincially valuable lake trout fishery.

Yours truly,
Rob Coulter, M.Sc.
Lake Manitou Area Association