A United Front: The Fight to Save Mary Lake and the Greenbelt
In the heart of King Township lies a natural marvel – the Oak Ridges Moraine, a vital ecological treasure hosting the serene Mary Lake and its surrounding high groundwater table to support agriculture on the Greenbelt. Yet, this haven faces a threat that could disrupt its tranquil waters and rich biodiversity. The proposal to construct St. Rita, a 160-bed long-term care facility, on this cherished land has sparked a community-wide movement spearheaded by Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) and Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition. If allowed this will set a precedent that could allow other egregious developments on the Moraine. We are not opposed to Long Term Care. But this is the wrong place for LTC – isolated outside King City and a long way from public transit or any other amenities. Seniors need to be in a community of care.
This isn’t just about opposing a development; it’s about upholding a legacy. The Oak Ridges Moraine, with its intricate network of wetlands and kettle lakes, is the lifeblood of the region, feeding over 65 rivers and streams. The proposed site for St. Rita LTC is precariously squeezed between Mary Lake and Provincially Significant Wetlands, raising alarms about potential ecological damage and water contamination.
CCKT and STORM, with the help of Small Change Fund, have embarked on a mission to protect this ecological gem. Armed with compelling research and the expertise of hydrogeologist Garry Hunter, the groups have unveiled disturbing findings – from the excessive levels of Phenols found in the groundwater that has to be pumped out during construction and permanently after, to the risks of discharging contaminated stormwater into two kettle lakes. These findings are not just numbers; they represent a potential catastrophe for the area’s delicate ecosystem, including the 10 fish species found in Mary Lake.
The community’s response has been nothing short of inspiring. Residents, environmental advocates, and supporters far and wide have rallied, understanding that protecting the Oak Ridges Moraine transcends individual interests – it’s about preserving a heritage, ensuring sustainable development, and maintaining the ecological balance for future generations.
Yet, the journey is far from over. The legal path to safeguarding this land is fraught with challenges and costs. CCKT and STORM, along with concerned citizens, have now filed an Application for Investigation with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, urging them to uphold the regulations and protections that keep our natural spaces pristine.
Your support can turn the tide in this crucial battle. Contributions made to this project with Small Change Fund fuel this fight, helping to cover legal expenses, bolster advocacy efforts, and ensure that the voice of conservation rings loud and clear. It’s a call to stand united, to protect not just a lake or a piece of land, but a legacy that will define our environmental stewardship for generations to come.
Together, we can ensure that the Oak Ridges Moraine, with Mary Lake at its heart, remains a symbol of natural beauty, ecological integrity, sustainable groundwater supplies and community resilience. Act now, contribute to this project with Small Change Fund, and be part of this enduring legacy of environmental stewardship.