GBA Amplifies Your Voice
Since 1916, we have taken a leadership role, advocating to all levels of government and other stakeholders on behalf of 18 water-based communities on the eastern and northern shores of Georgian Bay, on a broad range of issues, to protect and preserve this precious and fragile freshwater ecosystem for generations to come. As your watchful eye on the Bay, and your insurance policy to protect it, GBA often identifies and addresses matters early on, before they become a problem. For an overview of some of the current, topical issues on our agenda, read GBA’s value proposition.
Mitigation and Addressing the Impacts of Extreme High and Low Water Levels
GBA will continue to work with government and non-government agencies in the US and Canada to determine if and how a better job can be done to improve coordination between the different control structures that affect our water levels. The aim is to do the best we can to mitigate and address the impacts of extreme high and low water levels, which are expected to worsen if climate change impacts unfold as expected. We will also be surfacing any issues on the accuracy and completeness of water levels data and exploring how water levels data can be enhanced to improve ease of interpretation and better inform decision making, including adaption strategies.
Act to prevent inappropriate development related precedents from impacting our ecology
GBA works with local associations and the coastal municipalities to protect the environment from residential and commercial developments that could set precedents that will negatively impact all of Georgian Bay. This includes:
- weighing in on individual planning applications, when asked to do so, and where there is a threat of setting such a precedent;
- supporting improved planning bylaw enforcement; and
- a project to compare the main features of the official plans and planning bylaws for municipalities along the eastern and northern coasts of Georgian Bay to identify best practice recommendations on planning and land use.
Call for a Ban on Unencapsulated Dock Foam for New Docks & Dock Repairs
Polystyrene foam is the major plastics pollution source for Georgian Bay. Plenty of reasonably priced alternatives are available for new dock construction and dock repairs. GBA will continue to work with Georgian Bay Forever and the coastal municipalities to: provide education materials to members, manufacturers, contractors and suppliers; and advocate for legislative changes to ban the application of unencapsulated dock foam.
Urge Governments to Act on Maintenance and Inspection of Septic Systems
Estimates are that 70% of private septic systems in Ontario are not functioning properly. Better education of property owners and effective municipal inspection programs are needed. GBA will be proposing best practices to coastal municipalities and members. High water levels on Georgian Bay make acting on septic systems more urgent due to the risk of saturation and overflow causing seepage of bacteria and nutrients into the water.
Work with Municipalities on Best Practices for Compliant Waste Collection Facilities
Following tighter enforcement of waste collection management regulations by the province, GBA is helping to establish best practices for waste collection for Georgian Bay residents in areas where changes are needed. We aim to assist all coastal municipalities that need to become compliant and to ensure that a good quality, accessible, and convenient service is provided for both seasonal and permanent residents.
Advocate for the Open-Net Cage Aquaculture Industry to Be Environmentally Sustainable and Compliant with International Standards and Established Best Practices
GBA supports aquaculture expansion to meet the demand for fish products. However, it should be sustainable and its environmental impact minimal – i.e. in closed containment systems. GBA continues to advocate for the open-net pen aquaculture operations in Georgian Bay and the North Channel to cease causing negative environmental impacts. We are active in persuading the federal and Ontario governments to require the industry to comply with the Fisheries Act and international standards and guidelines in proposed new aquaculture laws and regulations.
COVID-19 Restrictions in 2021?
With the ongoing restrictions due to the pandemic, and the US border still closed to non-essential travel for US citizens, GBA will be monitoring the situation closely with regard to the 2021 season, and continuing to push for access for our US & international members to reach their properties when it is safe to do so. We will continue to work with your municipalities, marina operators and First Nations communities to coordinate messaging and hopefully get everything back to normal.