| Jan 17, 2008

Feature Article - January 17, 2008.class { BORDER-RIGHT: black 1pt solid; BORDER-TOP: #000 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: black 1pt solid; BORDER-BOTTOM: black 1pt solid } .class1 { BORDER-RIGHT: #9f5128 1pt solid; BORDER-TOP: #9f5128 1pt solid; BORDER-LEFT: #9f5128 1pt solid; BORDER-BOTTOM: #9f5128 1pt solid } .class2 { FONT-SIZE: 8pt; COLOR: #666 }

Back toHome

Feature Article - January 17 2008 Central Frontenac Council gets schooled on Lake Trout by Jeff Green

A delegation of provincial government biologists and officials from three ministries gave a presentation to Central Frontenac Council on Monday night in support of the province's insistent proposal that Eagle Lake and Crow Lake be added to the township's list of “highly sensitive” trout lakes.

This would restrict new lot creation on those lakes to 300 metres (1000') from the shoreline, as is the case for the two other highly sensitive trout lakes in the township: Sharbot Lake (west basin) and Silver Lake.

Laurie Miller, from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, began the presentation by telling council that, “of the 250,000 lakes in Ontario, only 1% contain lake trout, but this still represents 25% of lake trout lakes in the world, so Ontario has a role to play in preserving the species. Eastern and Central Ontario contain 1/3 of Ontario's lake trout lakes.”

Cam McCauley, a biologist from the Ministry of Natural Resources, talked in some detail about the science of lake trout.

“They need deep, well-oxygenated cold water lakes to survive,” he said, “and summer is a critical period for them because the water is at its warmest at that time. Once a lake trout population becomes critical, it can take 50 years, if you do the right things, to bring the species back. If you lose the habitat, you lose the lake trout. Once we lose lake trout, the reality is that not a lot of other species can fill in. Walleye are more of a warm water species, and they don't do well in lake trout lakes.

McCauley said that each trout lake contains its own genetic strain of the species, so the loss of a lake is significant to the genetic diversity of lake trout generally. They are also the species at the top of the food chain in a lake, and the health of the trout population is an indicator of the general health of the lake.

Lake trout lakes are rare in southern Ontario, and Frontenac County, with 21, can thank the Frontenac Spur (the southernmost extension) of the Canadian Shield for the trout fishery that county anglers enjoy.

Victor Castro, from the MOE, explained that the conditions of Crow and Eagle Lakes have not really changed over the past 25 years, but that the ministry has developed a new system, based on improved science, to measure the oxygen levels in lakes. The new benchmark that the government is using is 7 mg of oxygenation for every 1 litre of water. By that measure, Crow and Eagle Lake, which are at about 6 mg/litre, are under oxygenated.

Phosphorous that leaches into lakes eventually leads to a decrease in oxygen, and Castro said there are several sources of phosphorous in lakes, including; rain, surface runoff, sediments in the lake, upstream lakes, agricultural land uses, and shoreline development.

“Shoreline development is one factor that we can affect through policy,” Castro said.

For that reason, all four lake trout lakes in Central Frontenac are now deemed “at capacity” for development. The development of new lots will be restricted in the amended Central Frontenac Official Plan, but they will be permitted under certain conditions. This will not affect lots of record on those lakes, except when they are being redeveloped.

Alida Mitton, a planner with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said that conversions of cottages to year-round homes are not considered redevelopments by the ministry, but major changes such as a campground being turned into a different kind of resort, are.

In those cases, the developer will be required to show that the redevelopment will not lead to an increase in the nutrient load on the lake.

Central Frontenac councilors did not raise any questions about the policy direction in which the ministries are going, but they wondered why this information did not come to them before they initiated their Official Plan amendment in 2005.

Laurie Miller said that the information is quite recent, and in future, “As information becomes available from the MNR and the MOE, we will get it to you as soon as possible.”

“The Highly Sensitive” designation is not unique to Central Frontenac. In the current South Frontenac Official Plan, there are seven “highly sensitive” lakes designated, including: Bobs (Green Bay), Big Salmon, Potspoon, Loughborough (west basin) Buck (south and north basin), Knowlton and Garter. There are also seven trout lakes in the township: Big Clear, Birch, Canoe, Crow, Desert, Devil, and Gould, which have been classed as “moderately sensitive”. Of these the MOE has changed the designation on five.

North Frontenac has a long list of “highly sensitive” trout lakes, and only four: Brule, Round Schooner, Mazinaw, and Palmerston, that have been listed as moderately sensitive.

Waste Management Committee report -A trip to the dump could change in Central Frontenac, if the township’s waste management committee has its way.

A long-awaited report from the committee was received by Central Frontenac Council at their first meeting of 2008 in Mountain Grove on Monday night (January 14).

Council did not discuss the report at length, deferring that until the next meeting. The committee, which is chaired by Councilor John Purdon, and includes two other members of council, three members of the public, and two staff members, made 16 recommendations in their report.

They looked at everything from solid waste disposal, recycling, hazardous waste, e-waste, re-use possibilities and central composting, as well as education.

One change, which the report calls an “example initiative” is a “voluntary clear bag program”, which would see garbage dumped for free provided there are no materials in the bag that could be diverted in some way, either through recycling, composting, or other means. Under this scenario, only garbage contained in coloured bags would require a $1 bag tag.

The report also recommends that a hazardous waste recycling day and an e-waste recycling day be held this year, and that the township promote the creation of a materials re-use committee, which will have the mandate of setting up a re-use centre along the lines of an existing centre in Lanark Highlands.

Although council did not discuss the report as a whole this week, they approved two recommendations, which authorized township staff to set out requests for proposal for the purchase of new recycling bins, and new waste bins for the transfer station at Elbow Lake south of Parham.

Other items from Council: Municipal infrastructure grant – Chief Administrative Officer John Duchene informed council that at their next meeting he will be presenting a road safety construction project that includes 12 road projects, at a total cost of about $400,000, which the township can use as its submission to a municipal infrastructure program whose deadline is February 15.

Fire hall completion delayed – The projected completion date for the Mountain Grove fire hall is now May. The early onset of winter is cited as the main reason for the latest delay. CAO Duchene said the delay will not result in increased cost to the township.

December building permits drop – After a solid construction year, only four building permits, for $13,000 of construction, were issued in December. This compares to $448,000 in December ’06, and $322,000 in December ’05.

Over the year, permits were sold for $8.8 million in total construction, including 40 new residential units. In 2006, 33 residential units were started, and in 2005, 49.

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.