MNR has no business poking its nose into Manitou development

To the Expositor:

I read the article about Lake Manitou in The Expositor recently and am a little disappointed. First, I would like to know how the MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) has any right to say anything about further development on the shores of Lake Manitou? Just about two years ago I was at a meeting, which included some MNR personnel. At that time they said they didn’t own Lake Manitou. Therefore they should not have any control over development? As far as I am concerned, I think the decision on further development should be left to our council and taxpayers surrounding the lake and of course the Ministry of the Environment to see that development is done the correct way.

MNR says further development would harm the lake because of maybe some earth getting washed into it. The method MNR is using to handle the water levels now for Lake Manitou is harming the spawning beds. They keep the lake 10 to 12 inches higher than it used to be and this is washing soil over the spawning beds. My sister has a lakeshore lot on the east side of Lake Manitou and every year the high water is eroding the shoreline. Some of the tree roots are gone and so are many of the trees.

The restoration program with Manitoulin Streams in the Manitou River is a joke. Because of the big floods in the spring, most of the work they do is washed away.

There are a lot of examples of what the high water is doing to the lake’s shoreline. Gradually lower the water could save the shoreline and the spawning beds. The MNR says they need the lake high to run their fish ponds in Sandfield. They decided to narrow up the fish ponds a couple of years ago. Now they need the lake high to have a faster flow to service these smaller ponds. They could copy the commercial fish cage operations by putting some aerators in each pond. The lake is higher now then it is in the spring time and the river is very low. This is only September. I hope there is enough water in the river this fall for the salmon to spawn. The river is supposed to be a trout stream, which is a joke anymore because there is not enough water to swim a minnow. The MNR is doing a poor job, in my opinion, of protecting our shoreline and our fish. Now they want to weigh in on development?

Maybe focussing their resources on doing a better job of controlling water levels would have an even bigger impact than branching into shoreline development.

I know this is an extreme year for rainfall and it is hard to control the water levels, but year after year it is a flood because the lake is let get too high in the fall so there is no basin to hold the spring run off. Then comes the flood of water to lower the level all at once. I am told the orders to keep the lake high come from the Espanola MNR office and not from the culture station in Tehkummah. Are those Tehkummah people just puppets then?

Does MNR keep the lake water high in the winter to run their ponds instead of using aerators, and then lower the lake level quickly in the spring, causing lasting erosion and flooding, instead of finding a solution to their pond oxygen levels? What about the fish, the vegetation, the shoreline or the taxpayers? Do these enter into the MNR’s plans anywhere?

I didn’t get this into The Manitoulin Expositor for a couple of weeks and MNR did give the Manitou River some water for the salmon that are now in front of my house. But because of the low water levels a lot of salmon couldn’t get up the river to spawn two weeks ago.

J.D. Hutchinson
Sandfield