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NEWS: Temagami’s Wolf Lake threatened by proposed gold mine

Wolf Lake

Wolf Lake

Yesterday, the Toronto Star reported, “Ontario is planning to kill its promise to protect an ecological gem — an old-growth forest near Temagami. The Ministry of Natural Resources wants to change the ‘forest reserve’ designation for 340 hectares (double the size of Toronto’s High Park) around Wolf Lake (located 50 kilometres northeast of Sudbury) to ‘general use’, which puts a greater focus on mining instead of forests and recreation. …Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller said he’s ‘greatly disappointed’ by the ministry’s plan to backtrack on a long-held agreement to protect Wolf Lake, which would have eventually turned it into parkland.”

“A spokesperson for the Calgary-based Flag Resources, which holds the only two mining leases around Wolf Lake, said there is potential for gold, copper, cobalt and palladium mines. Flag has drilled 200 exploratory holes there since the 1980s, the spokesperson said.”

“David Sone, of the environmental group Earthroots, said members have complained to the Ontario government for years that mining in general should not be allowed in the Wolf Lake region. The rules concerning clearing land and digging trenches, for example, are just too lax for sensitive land, Sone said.”

“The plan was posted last June on the government’s Environmental Registry for a 47-day public review. (There is not) a timeline for its final decision.”

The Toronto Star adds this morning, “The plan to destroy old growth forest near Temagami is not a done deal, said the Minister of Natural Resources. In the wake of a Star story about his ministry’s plans to remove protections for stands of 300-year-old red pine around Wolf Lake in northern Ontario, Minister Michael Gravelle said he will decide soon whether the area will be opened up for increased mining.”

“Yesterday, Premier Dalton McGuinty said he has paddled the pristine lakes and rivers around Temagami, but was unaware of how threatened they are by his own government’s policy until he read the Star on Monday. ‘I have in fact taken my boys — at the end of every summer we take a canoe trip and we’ve been to Temagami. It’s a great place, beautiful forests, great freshwater lakes — clean freshwater lakes – and it’s first I’ve learned about it this morning,’ McGuinty told reporters at an Aurora high school. ‘I want to make sure that we are striking the right balance when it comes to protecting a rich, natural resource like the forest and the lakes there and ensuring that northerners have an opportunity to grow their economy and to be employed,’ he said. The premier was noncommittal on whether he would intervene.”