Election polls are open and will stay open until Oct. 22 in some Lake Simcoe area municipalities.
In others, where Internet and telephone voting are not available, advance polls are being held, and paper ballots will be available Oct. 22. Some municipalities offer both electronic and paper ballots, and there is a variety of election polling periods.
Wherever you live on the Lake Simcoe Watershed - which is all of the land that drains into Lake Simcoe – and whatever voting system your municipality is using, your vote in these local elections is important.
People tend to think that municipal elections do not matter as much as federal and provincial elections. Your mayor and council, however, control the direction of your city, town, community and neighbourhood. Do you want more or less development? Money spent on roads or services or parks?
In addition, many local representatives also sit on regional council and/or the board of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, making decisions that affect us all across the Watershed.
As a result of local council decisions, there is a massive development on the shores of Lake Simcoe at Innisfil that can be seen many kilometres out into the lake, that would be much more suitable beside one of the Great Lakes, or even the ocean. As a result of other local council decisions, trees are being felled on former golf courses to make way for housing developments.
Please study the platforms of the candidates for mayor and council, as well as school board, and choose the candidates that you think will best protect and preserve our beautiful Lake Simcoe environment.
Will the candidates you choose uphold and defend the Lake Simcoe Protection Act and Plan during next year's 10-year review?
The names and platforms of most candidates can be found online. And there are still some all-candidates’ meetings planned.
The Barrie Chamber of Commerce has organized a debate for Monday, Oct. 15, from 6-8 p.m. at Lions Gate Banquet Hall, located at 386 Blake St., for instance.
In addition, Lake Simcoe Watch has asked candidates in all Lake Simcoe area municipalities four questions on key issues that affect the health of Lake Simcoe and its watershed.
The questions are:
- Should municipalities in the Lake Simcoe watershed work with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and the Government of Ontario to develop and implement a plan to reduce Lake Simcoe’s phosphorus loadings to 44 tonnes per year by 2026?
2. Should municipalities in the Lake Simcoe watershed work with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and the Government of Ontario to develop and implement a plan to ensure that by 2026, at least 40% of Lake Simcoe’s watershed consists of high quality connected forests, wetlands and meadows?
3. Should the LSRCA establish a process for receiving and reviewing submissions from the public with respect to all Section 28 permit applications pertaining to Lake Simcoe’s wetlands, floodplains and shorelines?
4. Should the Development Charges Act be amended to allow municipalities to recover 100% of their additional infrastructure costs to service new residential and commercial projects from their developers?
Please go to the Lake Simcoe Watch website at www. LakeSimcoeWatch.ca, and look for your municipality, to see how your local candidates responded.