A socially blind and environmentally regressive proposal

Reference Number
52
Text

Regarding the proposed Georgina Island Fixed Link:

Over the last three decades I have been privileged to spend many happy holidays on the beautiful south shore of Lake Simcoe, with cottage-owning friends and in rental accommodation. I have seen how difficult it is for land owners to obtain permission from various levels of government and environmental agencies to make the most modest improvements or even to carry out necessary maintenance on their shoreline properties, all in the name of "protecting" the fragile ecosystem that is Lake Simcoe and its environs. Therefore it came as an appalling shock to learn that this bridge/causeway proposal even made it to the planning stage.

How can any thinking, world-aware person even begin to take it seriously? The inevitable environmental damage is glaringly obvious: the disruption of lake currents with consequent sediment buildup and stagnation; the salt pollution and damage to the lake waters; the visual pollution destroying vistas that have been enjoyed by indigenous peoples, tax-paying residents, and economy-stimulating tourists, since the 17th century.

I have read everything on the Chippewa of Georgina Island's website. It is most telling that, before any serious impact studies had even been carried out, they had been committed to this fixed link proposal as the only possible solution to ensure the "health and safety" of their people.

With all due respect, that is utter nonsense. Green (battery-operated) ice-breaking ferries are used worldwide, including in Canada (the "Frozen North”). Two could be purchased and be in operation almost immediately for a fraction of the staggering cost of this fixed link. The "health and safety" of the Chippewa of Georgina Island, other residents, and visitors, would be ensured as of first delivery, and not just after the five or so years it would take to build the proposed fixed link. Not only that: what Canadian resident, particularly a resident of the Lake Simcoe area, isn't aware of the extreme winter hazards on all of our roadways? There's nothing "safe" about winter travel on a fixed-link roadway across a lake area that is subject to ferocious winds, whiteouts, ice storms, and the effects of such conditions, viz. black ice, limited visibility, rapidly-forming snowdrifts, stalled cars and stranded motorists. Just how could that be safer than transport via modern ice-breaking ferries operated by experienced professionals?

This is our money, from our taxes, and for me, I would vote it A) for purchasing the ferries and B) for providing clean water and adequate housing for the many, many First Nation communities that are lacking these basic necessities—a shameful national situation for Canada and an outrageous insult to our indigenous peoples.

For the love of all that is good and honourable and right and just, let everyone with responsibility regarding this proposal see the light, and make the only right decision: NO fixed link; YES to the green ferries.

I learned in school that Lake Simcoe was originally named “Ouentironk” by the indigenous people who first settled there. In their language it means “Beautiful Water”. What a proud heritage. Can’t we keep it that way?

Submitted by
Meg Sharpe
Phase
Planning
Public Notice
Public Notice - Public Comments Invited on a Summary of the Initial Project Description
Attachment(s)
N/A
Comment Tags
Accidental Events / Malfunctions Weather Events / Flooding / Hazards Fish and Fish Habitat Project Alternatives Marine Environment Indigenous Culture Spiritual, Physical and Cultural Heritage
Date Submitted
2022-05-29 - 11:45 AM
Date modified: