Help members deal with high water levels
All indications are that water levels are going to be up sharply again this year. GBA is providing timely and accurate information on current and projected water levels and will work with members and municipalities to share information on mitigation measures. Some septic systems, docks and low-lying structures are expected to be severely impacted.
Identify best practices for official plans and zoning bylaws on the coast
GBA has launched 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. We aim to identify best practice recommendations on planning and land use to be shared among municipalities and stakeholders. Working together, we can improve protection of the environment and ecosystems along our coast.
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.
Ensure that the Hydro One seasonal rate class is maintained
Most Georgian Bay-based hydro customers are facing an average 129% increase in hydro costs if this rate class is cancelled because they live in low-density areas. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) wants to eliminate the class, while Hydro One has recommended keeping it. GBA will continue working with the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations to make submissions to the OEB.
Persuade all stakeholders to focus freshwater aquaculture industry expansion on closed containment systems
GBA supports aquaculture expansion to meet the demand for fish products, but it should be sustainable, 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 government to require the industry to comply with the Fisheries Act and international standards and guidelines in proposed new aquaculture laws and regulations.
Weigh in on a massive proposed pumped storage project north of Meaford to ensure that environmental impacts on Georgian Bay are minimized or eliminated
This project would pump water up from Georgian Bay into a reservoir on the west coast of the Bay using off-peak power and then release the water down a steep slope to generate electricity to meet peak demand. The projected flow rate, at 1,000 cubic metres per second in each direction (up and down), is equivalent to about 42% of the average flow rate over the Canadian side of Nagara Falls. This could result in significant damage to fish habitat, water quality, and species at risk, and kill millions of fish each year.
Persuade the Ontario government to abandon plans for the proposed cormorant hunt
GBA is concerned about the high risk to public safety of the proposed cormorant hunt, given that the hunt would allow cormorants to be shot from boats during May to September, when residents and visitors to Georgian Bay are active on the water. Rotting carcasses could also cause environmental harm, particularly to bald eagles. Scientific research that provides a rationale for this hunt is lacking.