Cleaning Up Lake Scugog – Project Receives Approval In Principle From Council

From The Port Perry Star; Dec 1, 2016

CLEANING UP LAKE SCUGOG

By Chris Hall

SCUGOG — An ambitious plan that would see a large stretch of Lake Scugog dredged as part of a $2-million project has been approved in principle by the Township, paving the way for organizers to start seeking approvals and begin fundraising.

Scugog councillors unanimously threw their support behind the Lake Scugog enhancement project, which was pitched by Rob Messervey, Kawartha Conservation’s chief administrative officer, at the Nov. 28 municipal committees meeting.

“This is our first major intervention into a major boost to the water quality in the lake,” said Messervey, who also serves as the vice-chairman of the Healthy Lake Scugog steering committee.

The proposed project will see a stretch near the western shores of Lake Scugog from the Port Perry Marina to Vos’ Independent dredged — an approximate area of 17 acres — to a depth of about six feet. An area around the municipal boat launch, at the end of Old Rail Line, will also be dredged.

That dredgate will then be transported and used to create a four-acre wetland feature that will reach from about the north Water Street ball diamond to a point on the northeastern edge of Vos’ Independent.

The dredging portion of the plan will serve to deepen the lake for recreational use, remove invasive plant and algae growth and increase wave action which should further cleanse the shoreline.

The engineered wetland will be designed to act as a natural stormwater treatment area and absorb unwanted contaminants coming into the lake, specifically from three stormwater outlets, that originate from the urban Port Perry area and have led to growing sediment levels on the bottom of the lake.

In an accompanying report to the presentation, Scugog staff stressed that local stormwater outlets “are not providing adequate water quality control for run-off outflows and thus contributing a large quantity of nutrients and suspended solids (over 17,000 kg per annum) into the (Port Perry Bay).”

A berm will be established to hold the new wetland in place and the project calls for the creation of a new shoreline walking trail, educational signage and new habitats for native plants, fish, reptiles and amphibians, such as turtles.

“There’s going to be a lot of use, we think, of this interpretive trail,” said Messervey.

Scugog councillors applauded the work of the steering committee and other groups who contributed to the creation of the plan.

“I think it’s fantastic and an excellent initiative for the health of Lake Scugog,” said Scugog Mayor Tom Rowett. “We look forward to seeing this fully implemented.”

It’s hoped that one-third — about $650,000 — of the $2 million needed for the project can be secured through government grants and another third raised from non-government agencies, such as corporate donations. The remaining third will be raised through public donations, councillors were told.

The Scugog Lake Stewards will spearhead the fundraising as they are a registered charity.

“There are people now with their pens in their hands,” said fundraising chairman Bill Eull, noting grant applications will be the first priority.

He expects local canvassing to be launched in 2017, which will include a pledging program with instalments.

Eull estimated early fundraising efforts have already reached 18 per cent of the entire goal, thanks in large part to a $200,000 donation from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

“This is a fairly complex project, dredging and relocating the dredgate, but it will make for all kinds of opportunities for recreation and other kinds of uses for the lake,” said Eull. “But mostly it’s about clean water coming into the lake.” The enhancement project was about four years in the making, explained Bobbie Drew, Scugog’s regional councillor and chairwoman of the healthy lake steering committee.

“We settled on this as a really good long-term solution,” said Coun. Drew. “The benefits are we get rid of the weed growth and it helps with tourism and the enjoyment of residents and the visiting public, plus there’s the improved water quality.”

It’s expected that work will begin in the fall of 2018, providing time for further testing and securing the necessary approvals from various government agencies, as well as fundraising.

If everything falls into place, the dredging portion will see something akin to an inflatable rubber dam erected in the lake where the berm and trail will be, then water removed on the shoreline side. From there, crews will remove the upper muck from the bottom until they reach coarse sediment that will then be used to create the berm.

Messervey estimates that about 35,000 cubic metres of sediment will be moved from the lake and used to create the new wetland area.

While the project has received Scugog’s approval in principle, there are still a number of factors that must be addressed, agreed councillors on Monday.

As part of the council approval, the steering committee, Township staff and Kawartha Conservation officials have been asked to assess and report back later to council whether an environmental assessment is required; to complete the necessary inventory and assessment work to address application requirements for all approval agencies; and determine the estimated costs of construction and later refine the estimate based on completion of a detailed design.

Councillors also asked if the Township would be responsible for any of the design and construction costs, how much it would cost Scugog for the long-term maintenance and if an environmental assessment is needed to remove sediments as part of that routine maintenance.

They also questioned if there would be any odour issues while the dredgate is being disposed of behind the berm. At the Nov. 28 meeting, Messervey indicated that he did not expect that there would be either odour or excessive noise issues.