Planning board supports call by Big Lake Property Owners Association to carry out environmental study

Board wants study of all Island lakes

BIG LAKE—The Big Lake Property Owners Association (BLPOA) is calling on the province of Ontario to carry out an environmental study on the lake. Meanwhile, the Manitoulin Planning Board is calling on the province to not only carry out an assessment on Big Lake, but all lakes on Manitoulin Island.

“At our (recent) annual general meeting we received the go ahead from members of the association to go ahead with this request,” said Sue Rumble, secretary of the BLPOA. She pointed out the group had commented on two severance applications that had been forwarded to the Manitoulin Planning Board, asking for the environmental study to be completed.

“The planning board has confirmed that it could assist with us with a letter of support and indicating what government agency we need to contact on this issue,” said Ms. Rumble. She pointed out the MPB had approved the severance applications that they had received for work to be carried out on the lake. “We are not trying to stop development or the selling off of lots,” said Ms. Rumble. “The lake may be perfectly fine with more development taking place, but we would like someone to do an assessment on the lake. The planning board does not carry out this type of work, but they will assist us in finding out who does this.”

Ms. Rumble explained, “(Big Lake) is a small, shallow lake, and additional human activity can stress the lake and habitat, and blue-green algae was confirmed in the lake last fall. This year the lake levels are high, and there has been no concerns raised.”

“We are just trying to be vigilant before the lake is built up too much,” said Ms. Rumble. “We are just being proactive to try to make sure the lake is in good shape and can handle more development.”

“The Big Lake Property Owners Association wants us to do a study on its lake,” said MPB chair Ken Noland, at a meeting earlier this month.

Wendy Kauffman, of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, told the MPB at the meeting that in regards to previous concerns from the province that Lake Kagawong may be at capacity, along with Lake Manitou, and the concerns raised by the MPB that there is no documented proof of this in the previous Official Plan draft modifications and the board’s concerns, “we acknowledge the board’s concerns.” She said in the draft Official Plan modifications that the ministry is recommending, “replacing the title of section ‘Sensitive or At Capacity Lakes’ with the title ‘Lake Capacity.’ Under this the new statement would read, “adjacent to a waterbody where the Provincial Water Quality Objective for phosphorous or other standards set by the province for dissolved oxygen are exceeded; any development on an adjacent waterbody shall not cause the water quality to exceed the provincial water quality objectives for phosphorous as set out by the MOE or exceed the dissolved oxygen criterion for protection of lake trout habitat as set out by the MNRF on designated lake trout lakes.

Ms. Kauffman told the MPB that data on Lake Kagawong is going to be provided for the board.

“Maybe we need the MOE to do a study of all our lakes on Manitoulin Island,” suggested MPB chair Ken Noland. “I think we should indicate the planning board would welcome data from all water bodies in and around Manitoulin Island.”

The MPB passed a motion, “that the MPB would welcome scientific lake studies of all lakes on Manitoulin Island on lake quality and data to be shared in our planning area (in essence supporting the request from the BLPOA, which has also received support in principle on its request from the municipality of Central Manitoulin).”