"Environmental watchdog petitions Auditor General for independent review"
There is new hope for the future of oshawa's waterfront community. Lake Ontario Keeper (LOK), an environmental watchdog, has formally requested that Canada?s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development review plans to close the Oshawa Marina and fill in part of the Harbour.
The marina ? scheduled to close today ? represents one of only a handful of public-access points to Lake Ontario between Toronto and the Quinte Region. Marina users received notice last spring that they would have to find new homes for their boats as of October 1, making Oshawa the only city on Lake Ontario without a marina.
?Trying to protect Lake Ontario by restricting access to the waterfront shows a total lack of understanding of how our waterfront communities work. The more we isolate ourselves from the lake, the less likely it is that we?ll ever clean it up,? says Lakekeeper and environmental lawyer Mark Mattson.
Pollution from an old landfill located beside the marina has been leaking contaminants into the Harbour since a Marina expansion exposed the wastes in 1976. LOK?s petition requests that a full Environmental Assessment be conducted before remediation begins.
The petition cites an Environment Canada study which suggests that increased greenspace could help protect water quality in the Harbour. A number of other consultant?s reports were also cited, confirming that the government has known about the contamination for two decades and that there is a variety of alternative remediation plans.
?The people who are directly affected need to have a say in the decision-making. Only a fair and transparent process should decide the future of the Oshawa Harbour,? says Mattson.
More information: LOW's petition
Included in Lake Ontario Keeper?s petition to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development was a list of our concerns and our requests. The petition was submitted under the Auditor General Act.
The Oshawa Harbour Commission, a federal agency, uncovered the wastes in 1976. The Commission has knowingly allowed contaminants to pollute Lake Ontario without penalty since at least 1983.
The Harbour Commission plan to fill Basin 3, pave the waste site, and close the marina was developed without public consultation or formal Environmental Assessment.
The Harbour Commission plan to redevelop the site now known as the Oshawa Marina runs contrary to the recommendations for remediation made by Environment Canada in 1999.
That Environment Canada explain why on-going contamination of Lake Ontario from the old waste disposal site was not formally investigated, even though the Federal Government has been aware of the problem since at least1983.
That the Harbour Commission be restricted from initiating any ?remediation? or redevelopment projects until an adequate Environmental Assessment process determines the most appropriate remediation plan.
That the Oshawa Marina and Yacht Club remain open to the public while the Environmental Assessment process proceeds.
That those people and organizations directly affected by redevelopment of the Oshawa Harbour be allowed to participate fully in the decision-making process regarding the site?s future. This includes full public participation in the Environmental Assessment process.