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Lake Simcoe watershed councillors call for federal funding to protect the environment

'It really is inspiring to see this many councillors from ... Newmarket to Orillia, Brock to Bradford – standing up for our lake,' says local politician

Municipal councillors from across the Lake Simcoe watershed gathered recently to announce their support for a motion calling on federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to fulfill commitments to provide funding to protect Lake Simcoe in the upcoming federal budget.

“We are all part of Lake Simcoe's watershed so it only makes sense for all of us to work together for its protection. However, we can’t do it alone and we are looking to the federal government to make good on its election commitments for Lake Simcoe funding,” said Georgina Mayor Margaret Quirk.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Councillor Jonathan Scott and Georgina Councillor Dave Neeson first proposed the motions, and they have now passed unanimously in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Georgina.

“This is an unprecedented, united front of municipal leaders calling for the federal government to fulfill and in fact exceed promises made in the last two elections to protect our watershed,” said Coun. Scott.

“It’s exciting to see councillors of all political stripes across the lake coming together once again like we did in the fall to push for the phosphorus recycling plant. We’re unified in saying that our lake and rivers need significant federal funding to restore shoreline habitats, clean up contaminated sites and reduce discharges from wastewater, all so we can protect the future vitality of the Lake Simcoe region.”

“It really is inspiring to see this many councillors from all across the region – from Newmarket to Orillia, Brock to Bradford – standing up for our lake,” said Coun. Neeson. “This is about the future of our children, and so we have access to clean drinking water, recreation and tourism, and to ensure the watershed as a whole remains vibrant, helping in the fight against climate change and honouring our commitments to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples like the Chippewas of Georgina Island who call the lake home since time immemorial.”

Said East Gwillimbury Coun. Scott Crone, “We know we have to deliver sustainable development so that the growth in our region does not negatively impact our lake, and to do that we need the federal government’s financial resources for a significant investment into our watershed.”

“The Lake Simcoe watershed provides nourishment and life to the ecosystem of Newmarket and our neighbouring communities. It is our moral duty to protect and preserve it,” said Newmarket Coun. Christina Bisanz. 

For his part, Oro-Medonte Councillor Shawn Scott said, “Our municipality is committed to being responsible, proactive stewards of the lake and we are hopeful that this resolution results in significant federal funding aimed at improving and sustaining the health of Lake Simcoe.”

Coun. Crone has introduced the motion in East Gwillimbury, Coun. Scott in Oro-Medonte and Coun. Bisanz in Newmarket. Meanwhile, Coun. Rob Nicol in Innisfil, Coun. Jay Fallis in Orillia, Coun. Mike Jubb in Brock and Coun. Sergio Morales in Barrie will bring forward the motion at their councils.