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Sudbury chapter seeks to protect lake that provides 40 per cent of city’s drinking water

Ramsey Lake

Ramsey Lake

The Council of Canadians Sudbury chapter opposes the building of the Keast Drive subdivision on Ramsey Lake.

Ramsey Lake is located in the city’s downtown area. It was originally known to the local Ojibwe population as Bitimagamasing, ‘water that lies on the side of the hill’. Due to smelter emissions from mining in the area, the lake was considered dead for many years. But in the 1970s a major environmental project was launched to clean up the lake and reintroduce aquatic life. These efforts were so successful that in 1992 the United Nations recognized the city’s reclamation program.

The proposed subdivision would mean the construction of 54 single-family homes and 93 condominiums on the lake.

The Sudbury Star reports, “Andre Clement founded the local chapter of the Council of Canadians last September. He pointed out, like many of the speakers [at the city’s planning committee meeting on Monday], that Ramsey Lake is already stressed and threatened, and added [Norm] Eady’s proposed development would be built on ‘fragile’ land. ‘We are encumbering the lake that is providing us with 40% of our drinking water’, he said during his address.”

The news report adds, “Clement said the wheels are in motion to have the city deemed a Blue-Dot community, an initiative of the David Suzuki Foundation that prioritizes access to healthy lands and ecosystems, and he asked that the development be delayed until the Ramsey Lake watershed study is complete. ‘(Blue-Dot communities) exercise a higher standard of environmental protection’, he explained. ‘This creates a precedent for development on and around Ramsey Lake.'”

As noted on the Blue Dot website, “Across the country, Canadians believe in our inherent right to a healthy environment – clean water, fresh air, healthy food and a say in decisions that affect us. This growing movement of Canadians calls upon their local communities to pass municipal declarations respecting people’s right to live in a healthy environment.”

Many other residents have also called for the completion of a watershed study before a decision is made on the subdivision.

Concerns were also raised about the lack of a plan to address storm water.

The city’s planning committee voted 3-2 on Monday to defer a decision on the proposed subdivision.

The developer frustrated by delays has threatened to take the matter to the Ontario Municipal Board.

This past March, the Sudbury chapter also organized a World Water Day protest to oppose oil-by-rail train traffic on the CP Rail tracks that run beside Ramsey Lake.