Toronto, ON – Sierra Club Canada Foundation (SCCF) welcomes the Government of Ontario’s Great Lakes Protection Act (GLPA), reintroduced at Queen’s Park today. The real challenge will follow. Ontario’s reality as the jurisdiction with the largest Great Lakes geographical presence has provided the province with a special responsibility for Great Lakes stewardship. Now the bar is set for the GLPA to deliver on that responsibility.
SCCF looks to the GLPA to lead the way in these specific areas:
- Creating an Ontario Action Plan to fulfill the Province’s commitment to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Nutrient Annex goal of reducing phosphorus loadings responsible for the production of harmful algal blooms. The Annex’s initial focus of reducing the nutrient flow from municipal sewage treatment plants in the Lake Erie watershed also commits to phosphorus reduction in all of the Lakes. A strong indicator of the Ontario Government’s commitment to Great Lakes protection will be its pending decision on the Durham and York Region application to triple the phosphorus outflow of the Duffin Creek plant into Lake Ontario.
- The protection of all Great Lakes coastal wetlands. The ongoing destruction of wetlands throughout the Lakes is reducing biodiversity, compromising water quality and impairing the ability of the ecosystem to function. A wetland lost cannot be replaced. Restored or recreated wetlands do not achieve the same ecological function and biodiversity as those they pretend to replace.
- Public inclusiveness – The ministerial Great Lakes Guardian Council is a positive initiative. That said, it will provide little means for stakeholder groups and the Ontario public to have regular and sufficient consultation on the health of the Lakes. A transparent process for enhanced information sharing is required.
Action to advance these three priorities will go a long way towards determining how successful Ontario will be in achieving its stated goal of protecting the largest freshwater lake system in the world, the Great Lakes. “The protection of vital wetland ecosystems, the reduction of pollutant and nutrient loading and the inclusion of the public voice will determine the success of Ontario’s commitment to the Great Lakes”, said Sierra Club Ontario Chapter Director Dan McDermott today.
For more information:
Dan McDermott, Chapter Director, Sierra Club Ontario
647-345-7665, (cell) 416-873-3852, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Muter, Chair, Great Lakes Section, Sierra Club Canada Foundation