Council of the City of Greater Sudbury
P.O. Box 5000 Station A
200 Brady Street
Sudbury ON P3A 5P3

May 9, 2013

Dear Members of Council of the City of Greater Sudbury

As local water stewards, environmental organizations, and community groups, we would like to express our strong support for the proposed motion to immediately begin work on watershed studies. Watershed studies are fundamental to healthy, swimmable, drinkable, fishable, and sustainable lakes and waterways in Greater Sudbury. These studies are needed to make informed decisions that take into account the big picture, and assess the cumulative impacts of development. Much of the background work has already been done – now is the time to complete these studies.

Water quality is a top priority and concern for residents in our ‘City of Lakes’. Enjoyment of our lakes and waterways, and access to safe drinking water, are essential to our community. Watershed studies provide the basic information needed to make appropriate planning decisions when it comes to water quality, and to protecting residents from flooding hazards. This is why water stewards have consistently called for the need for watershed studies to be completed before development decisions are made.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, in their stormwater management design guidelines, includes watershed studies as an essential part of stormwater management. These guidelines state, “Urban development without watershed/subwatershed planning is discouraged”. Without this information, we are placing greater stress on the health of our lakes and rivers. Already, there are increasing numbers of beach closures, blue-green algae blooms and other serious problems that pose a threat to public health and safety. As pointed out by local experts such as Dr. Gunn and Dr. Pearson, local conditions and the impacts of climate change make it even more imperative to be proactive in protecting water quality. Acting now is much easier and less costly than trying to reverse more serious problems later.

The City of Greater Sudbury was the first Ontario municipality to enact a phosphorus by-law to protect water quality. This was a great step for our “City of Lakes”. At the time the by-law was passed, many Councilors spoke about the need for further steps, especially to reduce the impact of development on our lakes. Completing watershed studies is a crucial next step. Watershed and subwatershed plans allow for smart development plans and decisions. Ecosystem functions are protected, maintaining valuable natural services that are difficult and expensive to replace with built infrastructure. Sustainable development is a matter of balance. Watershed studies are needed to find that healthy balance for a sustainable future.

We, the undersigned, urge Council to take this next essential step in protecting Greater Sudbury’s lakes and waterways.
Thank-you for your attention. We would be happy to discuss this further.

On behalf of the undersigned groups, please contact:

Lesley Flowers
Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance

Naomi Grant
Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury

Linda Heron
Vermilion River Stewardship


Lilly Noble
Ramsey Lake Stewardship Committee

Yours truly,

Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury
Fairbank Lake Camp Owners’ Association
Friends of Bennett Lake
Friends of the Roxborough Greenbelt
Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance *
Junction Creek Stewardship Committee
Minnow Lake Restoration Group
Onwatin Lake Stewardship Committee
Ramsey Lake Stewardship Committee
reThink Green
St. Charles Lake Watershed Stewardship Association
Simon Lake Community Stewardship Group
Sudbury Cyclists Union
Vermilion River Stewardship

* The Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance is an association of Lake, Creek and River Stewardship Groups in Greater Sudbury (currently 17 member groups)