Media Release - District and Township Support Ministry's Steps to Address Environmental Concerns in Minett

District and Township Support Ministry's Steps to Address Environmental Concerns in Minett

August 21, 2019 (Bracebridge, ON) - The District Municipality of Muskoka and the Township of Muskoka Lakes are investigating and facilitating information sharing after a Provincial Order was issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP).  The Province’s Order relates to the non-compliance of a private communal sewage treatment system in the Village of Minett, located in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.   

“The District and the Township commend the Ministry for taking steps to protect residents and visitors to the area by addressing the non-compliance through the Provincial Officer’s Order,”  said District Chair John Klinck.  “We have requested that the Ministry remain vigilant to ensure compliance is fully addressed by the private system’s owner and operator.

“The District has requested regular communication from the Ministry to District and Township staff to confirm that compliance limits are being maintained,“ said Mayor Phil Harding, Township of Muskoka Lakes. “Both District and Township Councils recognize that it is important to provide assurances to the public that all levels of government are working together to protect Lake Rosseau from adverse environmental impacts while a permanent solution is identified and implemented.”

The Order stipulates the following:

  • Increased requirements for operational oversight including increased monitoring and reporting and the use of appropriately licensed operators.
  • Requirement to enter into a contract for off-site disposal at an approved treatment facility.
  • Weekly reporting to the MECP of key effluent and other parameters; and
  • An extensive review and assessment of the sewage works by a qualified person by September 30, 2019.

As a champion for Muskoka’s natural environment, watershed and lake water protection, the District has initiated the following actions:

  • Meetings were held with senior officials at the MECP to be fully briefed on the Order, to request updates on the outcome of the Order, and to receive assurances that the Ministry was doing everything possible to address the concern.
  • By way of a letter, District Chair Klinck raised the importance of the Muskoka watershed issue with MECP Minister Jeff Yurek and requested the Ministry’s full cooperation in keeping the District and Township informed. Chair Klinck and Mayor Harding also met in person with the Minister.
  • Dr. Charles Gardner, the Medical Officer of Health Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has confirmed that “the spill was removed and there were no impacts to recreational, drinking water or land and there were no public health issues to be addressed”.
  • Staff have arranged a meeting with the parties named on the Order including the owners of the resort to be informed of how the matter will be addressed.
  • Staff have reviewed water quality monitoring data in Wallace Bay for the month of July and August to date. The data confirms that there were increased levels of coliform, E.coli and phosphorus following the incident. 

More information is expected to follow in coming weeks and the District and Township will continue to closely monitor the situation in the interim.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
w3cP.O. Box 129, 1 Bailey St., Port Carling, Ontario, P0B 1J0  Phone:(705)765-3156  Fax:(705)765-6755
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