Manitoulin’s Official Plan: the problem, or the solution?

To the Expositor:

There is growing rancour at this Island’s council tables, the offices of real estate developers and the kitchen tables of people with waterfront lots to sell.

The Ontario Government feels that a number of Manitoulin’s lakes are already at or beyond their carrying capacity of nutrients; mainly phosphorous and nitrogen. They therefore suggest that development of these waterfront properties be slowed, limited, or stopped. If the development isn’t stopped, the government, environmentalists, and scientists warn that Manitoulin will soon join Lake Simcoe, Lake Erie, and dozens of lakes in the Muskokas who have “enjoyed” poisonous blue green algae blooms, fish die-offs, runaway weed growth in the lakes, and zebra mussels.

Note that once a lake starts this biological death spiral, property values of homes and cottages around that lake also go into a death spiral. Tourism vanishes, as nobody can do sport fishing there, and if they could, they wouldn’t want to as the lake stinks, the fish have no fight left in them when they are half dead, and the fish are not fit to eat. All that is counter to the purpose of sports fishing.

By installing secondary and/or tertiary treatment on all septic tanks, eliminating the use of phosphates containing detergents, and ensuring effective implementation of nutrient management plans for all farmland, we can ensure that the lakes stay healthy, the existing shoreline development can become sustainable, and perhaps some limited additional development can still occur.

Manitoulin is composed of 110 lakes on an island in a lake. It would seem obvious that lakes are important here; more than anywhere else. The addiction with runaway development needs to be curbed soon. Perhaps that day has arrived.

Glenn Black
Providence Bay