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Council Shortcuts On Drinking Water Safety Not Recommended

Council Shortcuts On Drinking Water Safety Not Recommended

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Dear Mayor McKay and Town Councillors,

As you know, the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Plan (SPP, Approved January 2015, as amended May 14, 2015), contains policies regarding prescribed water quantity threats, in particular, Policy LUP-12 which states: “Planning Approval Authorities shall only permit new major development (excluding single detached residential, barns and non-commercial structures that are accessory to an agricultural operation) in a WHPA-Q2 where the activity would be a significant drinking water threat, where it can be demonstrated through the submission of a hydrogeological study that the existing water balance can be maintained through the use of best management practices such as low impact development. Where necessary, implementation and maximization of off-site recharge enhancement within the same WHPA-Q2 to compensate for any predicted loss of recharge from the development.”

The Assessment Report for the Severn Sound Source Protection Area (Approved January, 2015) has defined a Wellhead Protection Area Q2 (WHPA-Q2) where future major developments may reduce the amount of recharge to the aquifer and result in significant drinking water threats to the municipal drinking water supply. Extensive areas of the Town of Midland are located within this WHPA-Q2. The Town of Midland has recognized the SPP Water Quantity policies in your draft Official Plan Amendment and draft Zoning Bylaw Amendment (Staff Report PL-2014-68 RE SPPIS Draft OPA and ZBL, September 2014).

In the interim, the Town has required proponents of major developments (defined in the Explanatory Document, approved January 2015) to provide hydrogeological water balance assessments of any future major development in order to protect the municipal water supply. Guidance for the preparation of the required hydrogeological water balances has been recommended by the Town to be in general accordance with the document “Hydrogeological Assessment Submissions Conservation Authority Guidelines to Support Development Applications (LSRCA 2013)”.

The Town is to be commended for these efforts, however, it has come to our attention that the Town of Midland has opted not to require peer review of hydrogeological water balance assessments by a qualified Hydrogeologist.

The South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Committee recommends that the Town of Midland include a peer review of these water balances by a qualified professional in order to ensure the protection and sustainability of the Towns drinking water supply.

Yours truly,

Lynn Dollin,
Chair South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Committee

Editor’s Comments

Will Council accept the position from those who know best or will they choose to ignore this recommendation and proceed at their own peril as well as ours should something happen to our drinking water.  What is the reason behind them wanting to wave peer review?  Is it money?  Walkerton and other communities might have some advice for our Council.

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Council Shortcuts On Drinking Water Safety Not Recommended

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