“This project is of great importance because we need to reduce the phosphorus load in Lake Simcoe. The health of Lake Simcoe is paramount, ”says Margaret Quirk
Georgina Mayor Margaret Quirk sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking her support for the Holland Marsh phosphorus recycling facility.
The proposed facility would reduce phosphorus runoff from the Holland Marsh agricultural area into the Holland River and Lake Simcoe by up to 85%, removing approximately 2.5 tonnes per year.
The facility would be built on the Holland River between Bradford and King Township.
“This is an important issue that we want the federal government to recognize, which has committed funds to it,” said Quirk. “Collaboration is key and by sending it to the federal and provincial levels we want all partners to be around the table for this project.
Last fall, the federal government committed $ 16 million to the $ 40 million project. But it’s on hold because York Region planned to include its $ 25 million portion as part of its overall Upper York sewer solution costs (UYSS), which the province has suspended indefinitely.
“We see this as a separate issue from the Upper York sewer solution and should be addressed independently from the maintenance issues,” Quirk said.
She noted concerns that the passage of the York Region Wastewater Act, introduced in June 2021, could suspend the environmental assessment request for the UYSS, thus delaying the project.
“This project is of great importance because we need to reduce the phosphorus load in Lake Simcoe. The health of Lake Simcoe is paramount and we need to make improvements to its health both for the lake ecosystem and as a source of drinking water, ”Quirk said.
Bradford County. Jonathan Scott introduced a motion for the project, which was passed by city council last summer. Georgina advice. Dave Neeson also presented a motion to his city council, which was also passed.
The project has since made headlines with Durham Region and Innisfil also passing motions to approve the project.
“The Holland Marsh Basin collects runoff from all of our area,” Scott said. “Farmers have done their part to ensure the sustainability of their operations, and we need to support them and make sure we protect our watershed.
“Clearly, the momentum is building and the region’s like-minded councilors and elected officials, as well as agricultural and environmental stakeholders, agree that we need all levels of government to work together to providing this much needed facility to protect Lake Simcoe, the Holland River and our watershed, ”he added. “Installation is a tangible way to deliver victory to the lake.
“It’s not about politics or pointing fingers at different levels of government – it’s about doing something to protect our lake. “
Neeson said he hopes Quirk’s letter will help move the project forward.
“Councilor Scott and I are pleased that Mayor Quirk is joining a growing coalition of elected officials, citizens and watershed stakeholders. – of all political persuasions and walks of life – to come together in a meaningful way to demonstrably protect and improve the health of Lake Simcoe, ”he said.
Neeson said he also looks forward to further correspondence from the provincial Minister of Environmental Conservation and Parks while continuing this “much-needed project in a collaborative manner.”
Quirk’s letter was also sent to Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Premier of Ontario, York Region, Lake Municipalities Simcoe, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Lake Simcoe MPPs and MLAs, “with the hope that by working together we can make this project a reality.”