Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund extended five years
By Miriam King, QMI Agency
Monday, January 7, 2013 11:28:19 EST AM
A move to clean up Lake Simcoe has received a big boost.
York-Simcoe MP Peter Van Loan announced Monday in Jackson's Point the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund will be extended for another five years.
The fund, which had wrapped up after five years of funding partnerships and remediation projects around Lake Simcoe, has so far provided $30 million in support to a total of 160 projects.
"We've seen real changes happen," Van Loan said, who made the announcement on behalf of Environment Minister Peter Kent. "The lake's health is getting better and better."
He said the extension of the fund will result in "a decade of decisive action" for the health of Lake Simcoe.
The fund was initially a two-year commitment, Van Loan said, extended to five years to develop hands-on projects and partnerships with organizations that include the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.
Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton, who was also hand for the announcement, said the fund has been a positive move.
"It has had a tremendous effect helping to keep Lake Simcoe clean and ensure that this area continues with a healthy environment, and a strong economy," he said.
Projects have included phosphorus reduction, restoration of fish habitat, and shoreline restoration.
Van Loan also said the fund has brought together groups and organizations within the watershed.
"It's been getting people working together as they never have before," he said.
Groups that formerly did not talk or co-ordinate their actions, that were in fact in competition for funding, have forged new partnerships - some of which have led to "very innovative" new approaches to environmental protection.
"Those are things that would not have happened without the fund. There has been a dramatic turnaround in direction and momentum," Van Loan said.
The initiative is also being extended, with the potential for funding projects in the southeast Georgian Bay area, since Lake Simcoe drains into Georgian Bay.
The new fund is part of the Government's Action Plan for Clean Water, and will see an estimated $29 million disbursed over the next five years. The first round of applications should be submitted by the end of March 2013, the end of the fiscal year.
"We want to see that money focused on real, live projects," Van Loan said.
He acknowledged that there is a tight timeline for the first round of funding. Details can be found at www.ec.gc.ca.