Re: Article “Opposition expected to Ramsey Lake development,” which appeared in the Feb. 12 edition of Northern Life.
The Ramsey Lake Stewardship Committee (RLSC) is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of the Ramsey Lake watershed and ecosystem.
Our vision is to keep Ramsey Lake a drinkable, fishable, swimmable and enjoyable lake for many years to come for all Sudburians. Some 60,000 people rely on drinking water from Ramsey Lake.
As a community group, we have significant concerns with the proposed development off South Bay Road and Keast Drive on the shores of Ramsey Lake and recommend that the proposed development be denied in its current state.
1. Studies not available
Yet again, citizens are presented with a completed development application in the Ramsey Lake watershed without completed studies to properly assess the impact on the lake.
We have no Environmental Impact Study, Vegetation Study, Species at Risk Study or Stormwater Management Plan, and yet citizens are expected to agree to development for the sake of development without any facts.
Even more disturbing is that individual developments are approved with no knowledge of the cumulative effects of all the developments proposed in the Ramsey Lake watershed.
A comprehensive watershed study should be completed before any more large developments are approved in the watershed.
Ramsey Lake is too important a lake for Sudbury for us to keep approving development with no knowledge of what the cumulative affects of these developments will be on the health of the lake and its drinking water quality.
2. Building on a floodplain
The stormwater management pond in this proposed development is in a wetland and floodplain. This does not comply with Ministry of the Environment guidelines and will not deliver the Enhanced Level of Protection required for a drinking water source.
A sewage lift station is also planned to be built in a floodplain against MOE guidelines. Citizens cannot bear the cost of fixing these costly planning mistakes. Climate change will bring such unpredictable weather that we must plan in advance for the challenges ahead.
3. Stormwater runoff
The land in question has some dense vegetation and trees, which provides water retention and filtration services but would be replaced with hard, impervious roofs, driveways and roads.
To compensate for this loss, we should be applying low impact development techniques to improve water quality and increase permeability in the watershed.
Permeable pavers for driveways, bioswales along roads, rain barrels, green roofs and rainwater gardens are just a few green infrastructure techniques that should be used in this development to clean and cool the water before reaching Ramsey Lake or more blue-green algal blooms will occur.
4. Comprehensive Planned Unit Development (CPUD)
This proposed development does not fulfil the special requirements of the CPUD necessary to have 23 metres of frontage and increased density.
The development does not provide significant public amenities to fulfil the CPUD nor the goals of the Ramsey Lake Community Improvement Plan as required by the Official Plan.
It also does not fulfil the requirement of providing more than the five per cent parkland allocation. We do not consider grass around a condo as parkland nor should a stormwater management facility be considered parkland.
A significant stream to the south of the property is not being preserved nor is the floodplain or wetland to the east.
This does not fulfil the requirements of the CPUD. A significant rock formation on the property (Creighton Fault) and the hilly topography of the land will not be preserved (extensive blasting), again not fulfilling the requirements of the CPUD.
5. Steep shoreline lots
We are concerned about the problems associated with the development of the steep, rocky shoreline at the north end with relatively shallow soil cover.
Blasting and vegetation removal will increase erosion and send sediment into the lake increasing the phosphorus load on the lake. South Bay residents are already suffering due to the frequent blue-green algal blooms.
We would recommend that lots (lots 12-26) to the north remain undeveloped and incorporated into the parkland space as suggested by the Green Space Panel in their report. This would also preserve the one-billion-year-old Creighton Fault as required for a CPUD.
6. Loss of habitat
Wetlands feed fish and provide cool, clean water. Pipes don’t. Proposed lots 56-61 are currently in a wetland with a significant stream leading to a fish-spawning area.
These lots should be removed from any proposed development to prevent the loss of fish habitat and to maintain the services provided by the wetland.
Also, there needs to be an assessment of the possible species at risk that live on the property, such as Blanding’s turtles and Whip-poor-wills.
With so much potential harm this development may bring to Ramsey Lake and its drinking water, the Ramsey Lake Stewardship Committee cannot support this development.
co-chair, Ramsey Lake