Request for Complete Impact Assessment

Reference Number

As a resident who has watched the ferry cross the lake for over 20 years and have witnessed the issues first hand during the winter months, I am sympathetic to the GIFN request for the health and safety for all persons travelling to and from the island. I know a number their members and have no intent to interfere and I know they have no intention to interfere with my enjoyment of the lake, but the IAAC filing has raised a number of issues.

Lake Simcoe is the fourth largest lake in Ontario and the proposal is to fill the lake with upwards of 4,500,000 cubic meters of sand and rock. There is no question that this project warrants a public hearing and a full environmental review from all Federal and Provincial Departments.

The Initial Project Description is very weak in its analysis of alternatives. The report referenced dates back to 2008 before green icebreaking ferries were a viable option and only explored 4 options.

The Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation have community members on Georgina Island, Fox Island and Snake Island but this report only address’s the health & safety concerns of members of Georgina Island. What about the health and safety of the membership on the other islands?

It should be noted that during the October 5, 2021 Regional Citizens Zoom Presentation by GIFL that they asked all participants to visit their website for current updates on the project and that all studies and information would be updated. They also committed to notify all registrants and website subscribers when the IAAC filing was open to accept community input. The website was not updated on a timely basis and notifications of the IAAC filing were not sent to all registered members. Given the lack of participation in the IAAC Zoom calls and lack of comments, one could assume very few people are aware of the IAAC filing so we are all counting on the IAAC to do their job on behalf of all citizens. This project should not be green lighted without a thorough review of all alternatives.

The IAAC filing in total contains 1635 pages with a number of reports that were completed over recent years, none of which were made publicly available on the GIFL website. It is not possible for any average person to digest this before May 29. The IAAC process stage 1 was meant to encourage comments not dissuade people by burying them in 1635 pages.

In their follow up notes to the October Zoom call GIFL also committed to provide the Health Impact assessment that identified the Fixed Link as the only solution to effectively meet the health issues. A quick review of the Intrinsik report filed shows significant limitations and uncertainties that do not support the fixed Link as the only solution.

In the report they cover a number of cost savings by having a fixed link instead of a ferry but no where in the report do they address costs? The new bridge and causeway will require maintenance and snow removal. I presume the CIB loan will bear a nominal interest and will need to be repaid.   This project is currently budgeted at $250 million for 260 residents. Why is the option to build a bridge across the entire span from the mainland to the island not considered? This would have significantly less impact on the lake and fish.

It is common knowledge that the flow of water around the island has led to the build up of silt and shallow water at the south east side of the lake. Adding a causeway will only make a bad situation worse. There are significant currents in the lake that must be analysed and understood prior to any project of this magnitude moving forward. Shifting silt and sand has the potential to permanently harm the lake in front of all properties from Duclos point to Sibbald Provincial Park.

Having a 2.8 kilometer causeway beside and over a fresh water lake in the winter will be challenging to maintain given the high winds, spray and drifting snow. It will be particularly difficult to remove or use salt. We do not see any solution offered that will not harm the lake.

The Federal and Provincial governments have recently committed $40 million dollars to finally help combat the high phosphorus levels in the lake and all municipal councils coming together to agree on principals to further protect this already fragile body of water. The project as presented can only hurt an already delicate situation.

In 2008 the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan was put in place with ambitious targets to improve water quality. The construction process and filling the lake with sand and rock will have an impact on the health of the lake. There are more environmentally friendly or green options available.

Over the years a number of us have been denied approvals for crib/retaining walls or boat house maintenance / repair or removal. The answer has always been that its for the good of the lake so its very concerning to us that this project has achieved the support of the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, Federal, Provincial and Municipal agencies. It appears that different standards are being used when it comes to the protection of the lake and the environment.

 In conclusion Lake Simcoe is a precious resource that should be protected for all people and future generations, consideration should be given to the concerns of others.

Submitted by
Public Notice
Public Notice - Public Comments Invited on a Summary of the Initial Project Description
Date Submitted
2022-05-28 - 4:02 PM
Date modified: