In 2013, the Municipality of Mississippi Mills received an application to significantly expand an older trailer park on Hayes Bay on White Lake near Arnprior. The White Lake Preservation Project (WLPP) has had discussions with Mississippi Mills regarding this proposal, which because of its scope and location in an environmentally sensitive area, has been significant cause for concern for a number of property owners on the lake, both private owners and businesses.
The WLPP was initiated by a few cottage owners in 2013 because of concerns about the health of the lake, and has since grown to a substantial membership. These individuals observed that the lake water quality was deteriorating and that it needed to be much more systematically studied. Government departments have either removed lakes from the protection of legislation (federal) or cut back very significantly on resources devoted to the study and protection of lakes (provincial).
The WLPP significantly expanded the chemical and other testing of the lake water and is keeping that project up on an ongoing basis. In the meantime the lake has experienced serious and widespread algal blooms annually for 3 years. With the warming climate and increased development pressure on the Lake, serious action needs to be taken before it is too late and the lake declines irreversibly. Such action needs to involve all four municipalities that have responsibility for the lake, as it probably has limited capacity left for development. Capacity is judged on the likelihood for algal blooms which are predicted using phosphorous levels in the lake. Phosphorous is the main nutrient for algae and derives mainly from human activity. As pointed out, White Lake is already having algal blooms.
The WLPP has initiated a Lake Planning Process, the first step of which is a review of all the scientific data on the lake, presentation of conclusions regarding the health of the Lake and of recommendations regarding new information needed. This phase should be completed in March/April 2016. The 2nd phase is a Lake Plan which will present recommendations for protection of the lake, for remediation and for future development. It is hoped that some of these recommendations will be used as guidance or adopted into by-laws by Municipalities.
Unfortunately the decision regarding the development on Hayes Bay is likely to be taken before the Lake Plan is completed. It is scheduled for the February 16 meeting of the Council of Mississippi Mills.
Lake Planning process includes cottagers, business owners, representatives of the provincial and municipal governments, the White Lake Property Owners Association and the Algonquins (due to land claims on the Lake). This is a public process and everyone is invited to get involved.
White Lake Preservation Project
Website wlpp.ca e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org