Overwhelming no to fracking in MASC survey

MANITOULIN—The people have spoken in no uncertain terms. Manitoulin Island residents, both seasonal and year-round, stated emphatically in an online survey hosted by The Expositor website that they oppose fracking on Manitoulin Island.

In fact, 92.21 percent of respondents to the online poll indicated that they were not in favour of fracking taking place on Manitoulin Island.

“We are very pleased with the number of people who responded to the poll, but even more pleased that so many took the extra time to fill out the survey and to supply us with contact information so we can keep them updated on developments going forward,” said Therese Trainor, secretary of the Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council (MASC).

In fact, more folks filled out the survey than simply responded to the poll. “One of the surprising things of the poll/survey was the number of residents that filled out the survey, 446, was higher than the poll figures of 313. With the poll, people just had to respond to questions and with the survey they had to provide more information. It clearly shows the public’s interest in this issue.”

Of those survey respondents, 64 percent indicated that they are full-time Island residents, noted Ms. Trainor, and the level of knowledge about the issue among respondents is apparently high. “On the question of their familiarity with fracking, 65 percent said they have knowledge of fracking and 29 percent said they are very knowledgeable.”

Contamination of the groundwater ranked at the top of concerns identified by respondents, said Ms. Trainor. Other concerns following close behind were habitat destruction and chemical threats to wildlife.

Another surprise contained in the data was the number of people indicating they wanted to become involved in keeping fracking from taking place on the Island, with 45 percent indicating they were in favour of working to keep fracking at bay, 44 percent indicating they want to be kept informed and 61 percent left their contact information.

MASC will use the data to inform their discussions in their next meeting, scheduled to take place in about a week. Ms. Trainor noted that MASC does not, however, consider itself a “watchdog” on public activities.

“We definitely are not here to tell people what to do,” said Ms. Trainor. “We want to disseminate good information to people.”

Ms. Trainor was effusive in her praise of the assistance MASC received from Manitoulin Publishing production manager Dave Patterson and publisher Rick McCutcheon. “I can’t say enough about the great job Dave Patterson did for us in setting the poll and survey up online and it was Rick who made it all possible. They made it so easy for people to access and did it so professionally, so thank you to both of them,” she said. “The online survey is something we would love to utilize again sometime in the future.”

Michael Erskine