Local MP Jamie Schmale joined Lake Simcoe area MPs calling on the Prime Minister to follow through on the Lake Simcoe Clean-up Fund.
The six area rural Conservative MPs are asking the new Liberal government to provide a firm commitment and timeline for reinstating the Lake Simcoe Clean-up Fund.
The original funding program assisted local groups with projects that improved the health of the lake for 10 years before it was cancelled by Trudeau’s government two years ago.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced in June as part of the Conservative Party’s “Real Plan for the Environment,” that an elected Conservative Government would re-instate the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund. Not to be out done, and with just two days left before voting in the recent federal election was set to begin, local Liberal candidates with the help of Minister Chrystia Freeland promised that a re-elected Liberal government would also re-instate the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund.
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP-elect Schmale, Barrie-Innisfil MP-elect John Brassard, York Simcoe MP-elect Scot Davidson, Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP-elect Doug Shipley, Simcoe-North MP-elect Bruce Stanton, and Simcoe-Grey MP-elect Terry Dowdall all signed a letter this week to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In it, they ask the PM to commit to reinstating the fund as soon as possible and to provide a date that funding will begin to flow.
“For the protection and long-term sustainability of Lake Simcoe and the surrounding areas, we want the Prime Minister to make good on his election promise and immediately give us a commitment to a date when the Lake Simcoe Clean-up Fund will be restored,” said Schmale.
“Lake Simcoe is extremely important to Central Ontario and we need to make sure we are doing all we can to keep the lake healthy for future generations.”
The Lake Simcoe Clean-up Fund was implemented by the Conservatives in 2007 and for 10 years it worked to reduce phosphorus levels, restore fish habitats and improve shorelines and retention ponds.
Scientists found evidence the projects were working, as phosphorus levels were reduced, lake water quality improved and native fish species were breeding in the watershed – including fish that hadn’t done so in many years. The fund also helped improve shoreline naturalization and stormwater retention ponds.
“The increase in urban development, invasive species and other challenges have affected the health of the watershed over the years,” said Davidson. “We must work together to protect this important resource that so many of us rely on.”
This was accomplished in collaboration with stakeholders, municipalities, and conservation authorities.
Brassard delivered the letter to the Prime Minister’s office in Ottawa on Wednesday.
“Lake Simcoe needs our attention today,” Brassard said. “It’s been two years since the Liberal government cancelled the Lake Simcoe Clean-up Fund and we need to make sure that all of the work and resources that was invested over 10 years to improve the quality of the watershed is not wasted.”