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MEDIA RELEASE: Ramsey Lake Stewardship Committee response to 2nd Ave construction

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

Press Release July 25, 2014

The Ramsey Lake Stewardship Committee is concerned to have learned of the blue-green algae blooms this past week at Moonlight, Main, Amphitheatre and New beaches and at the Canoe Club. Swimmers were turned back and David Street Water Treatment Plant staff were extra vigilant about water safety. We take these blue-green algae blooms in Ramsey Lake very seriously and as a reason to express our solidarity with citizens who are engaged in the community consultation process dealing with the environmental effects of 2nd Ave road widening. (see: “Did activists hijack the Second Avenue consultation process?”, Northern Life, July 21, 2014)

There are many issues associated with the proposed widening of 2nd Ave from two to five lanes but the greatest concerns to the Committee are the changes that would affect lake water quality and increase pollution and phosphorus reaching Ramsey Lake. These road changes, proposed through a significant source of infiltration and recharge for Ramsey Lake, include an increase in the impervious road surface area, due to the widening of the road, and the removal of ditches at the south end of 2nd Ave, which currently provide some filtration and cleaning of stormwater before it reaches Ramsey Lake.  Another concern is the lack of any new 2nd Ave stormwater management facilities or green infrastructure, which could help to absorb pollutants and phosphorus.

And finally, the Committee is concerned about the ability of Frobisher Creek and its pond system to filter and clean the higher volumes of stormwater coming from the larger roadway. Studies have already shown that Frobisher Creek is releasing high levels of phosphorus into Ramsey Lake (M.Sc. thesis, Laurentian University) so there is a distinct possibility that the creek would release more phosphorus into Ramsey Lake, if road construction proceeded as designed. One important way to find out if this would happen is through the Ramsey Lake watershed study, which has not started yet. Unfortunately, the results of this study will probably not be available for a couple of years or after 2nd Ave construction was slated for completion. So it should not be a surprise that citizens are concerned about one of our City’s main drinking water sources and recreational, tourist area.

Citizens should have an opportunity to address environmental and social issues in their neighbourhoods when new large road construction projects are proposed. And lake water quality should not be compromised at the expense of a new road. If not enough care and attention is placed on stormwater management, the blue-green algae growth we are seeing in Ramsey Lake may turn out to be a chronic problem. Can we afford to see Ramsey Lake become a green pond?

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About the Sudbury Working Group

The Sudbury working-group of The Media Co-op was formed to create independent media in the North, to speak to our issues and outlooks on our communities as well as the world around us. Independent media provides an avenue for people who are wishing to gain critical perspective on the issues that matter most to us, and to give a voice to those people and stories that you won't find in the mainstream media.

The Sudbury working-group site is no longer being updated and has been archived.