Big Bay Point Resort Project Gets Wide Support



    Environmental Benefits Key to Approval

    INNISFIL, ON, April 4 /CNW/ - After five years of consultation and
planning with the local community, the County of Simcoe and environmental
groups, the proposed Big Bay Point Resort has received the 'thumbs up'.
    The resort plan has been dramatically downsized to contain 1600
condominiums and 400 hotel rooms and a 1000-slip marina on the western shore
of Lake Simcoe just south of Big Bay Point. More than a third of the 600-acre
site has been set aside as an environmentally-protected area, between a
championship golf course to the west and the marina/condominium site to the
east.
    The Town of Innisfil, the County of Simcoe and local ratepayer and
environmental groups as well as the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation authority
are on the record as being in support of the resort plan, which will provide a
major economic and infrastructure stimulus to the Town of Innisfil.
    The developer, Geranium Corporation, will bear the cost of new sewer and
water lines to the site. The access to waste treatment facilities required by
the resort will actually reduce the phosphorus loading of Lake Simcoe, in part
because it will allow local residents to get off septic systems and onto
sanitary sewers.
    "We hope this resort can be a powerful demonstration to local developers
and planners that innovative and environmentally-positive features can be
incorporated into our residential and recreational development," says Erich
Jacoby-Hawkins, a member of the Board of Directors of the Barrie-based
environmental organization, "Living Green". He has followed the progress of
the resort proposal for the past several years, and the full text of his
letter is attached.
    The staff of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, (LSRCA), is
also on record as being in support of the project, stating in a letter to the
LSRCA Board:

    "With regard to concerns associated with water quantity the consultant
was able to satisfy the Authority requirements and document that the proposed
development would not negatively impact ground or surface water resources.
Recognizing that water quality would be a significant issue the proponent
approached the Authority with a plan whereby the development would reduce the
existing phosphorus load entering Lake Simcoe by minimizing the impact of the
developed lands and address existing local sources presently contributing to
the lake."

    And

    "...the proponents willingness to undertake additional remedial works to
reduce the phosphorus loading to Lake Simcoe should be used as an example to
other developers within the watershed."
    Geranium Corporation President Earl Rumm says he is pleased with the
support from the public, elected officials, county and town staff as well as
ratepayers groups across the region.
    "We've worked hard together to find solutions and compromises that work
for everyone, and most important, we're going to have a resort that is both
environmentally and economically sound for Innisfil and Simcoe County," says
Rumm.

    Attached, please find a selection of further comments on the Big Bay
Point Resort proposal.



    Backgrounder

    On the public record: Local support for the Big Bay Point Resort
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    After nearly five years, many public meetings and council meetings at
both the town and county levels, and two design charrettes, a revised plan for
the resort has been presented and garnered widespread support. Here is a
sampling of recent comments on the public record:

    "The positions of the parties in the settlement discussions have
converged to the point that an outline settlement has been reached," (County
Planning Director Ian) Bender said in his report to the county's corporate
services committee. "Residential units have been deleted from the west portion
of the site. The resort uses are focused exclusively at the east end of the
site, adjacent to and expanding from the existing marina," he noted. - Barrie
Advance, Feb. 13, 2007

    "A large, 87 hectare, central portion of the site is retained as an
Environmental Protection area, with no development permitted, other than a
collector road linking Big Bay Point Road with the 13th line." - Ian Bender
quoted in the Barrie Advance, Feb. 13, 2007

    "Bender said the compact settlement proposal that's focused on the
marina, and which includes a smaller scale of residential units, 'can now be
described as a resort development rather than a traditional settlement of
permanent residents'. This is important because the resort's residents 'would
not form part of the population or growth projections typically prepared by
the County and the Province.'" - Barrie Advance, Feb. 13, 2007

    "The proposed settlement is being recommended by both Town and County
planning staff..." - Simcoe County planning staff memo, Feb. 14, 2007

    "The settlement also provides for possible adjustments that would further
enhance or respect natural heritage protection." - Simcoe County planning
staff memo, Feb. 14, 2007

    "A significant portion of the Greenland Unit is now conserved... Wildlife
corridors are identified and conserved, as well as specific features such as
Butternut trees and particular plants species (ferns)... staff are now
satisfied that the general intent of the County's Greenland policies is being
maintained." - Simcoe County planning staff memo, Feb. 14, 2007

    "The issue of how to service this site without negatively impacting the
health of Lake Simcoe has been... the subject of detailed discussions between
the applicant, the Town and the Province. County staff are now satisfied that
the servicing issues can be appropriately addressed... Kimvar and the Town
have committed to abide by clear guidelines and requirements including the
undertaking of appropriate Environmental Assessment processes designed to
establish treatment systems that conserve water quality in Lake Simcoe." -
Simcoe County planning staff memo, Feb. 14, 2007

    "We are the solicitors for The Sandy Cove Acres Homeowners' Association
and the Residents of Innisfil Association... Collectively these two
organizations represent hundreds of homeowners and residents. Our clients are
supportive of the proposed settlement and are grateful to the Town and County
for their stewardship of the community and natural heritage of Big Bay Point."
- Ira T. Kagan, Kagan Shastri, Barristers and Solicitors, letter to County of
Simcoe, Feb. 12, 2007

    "I wasn't for it at first, but I did change my mind. I'm for it now.
Let's face it, this area is not going to stay the same. I think Geranium are
good people. They've made an effort to accommodate residents and have tried to
meet our wishes." - Area resident Joan Douglas in Barrie Examiner, Feb. 15,
2007

    "There has been a lot of mediation to get to this point. It fits into the
county's growth management study. Hopefully, we have a great resort come to
fruition. This settlement was imperative. To work out the details of this,
that's a tremendous way of resolving the issue." - Innisfil Mayor Brian
Jackson in Barrie Examiner, Feb. 15, 2007

    "Now, I believe we have a proposal that can be very beneficial to the
county. The overall scale and form of the development is now settled." -
Simcoe County planner Ian Bender in Barrie Examiner, Feb. 15, 2007

    "Our group is more than 100 members strong, and we can't wait for the
approvals to be granted. The Big Bay Point Resort concept is what Innisfil
needs, and what the members of our group want." - Nola Wale, President,
Residents of Innisfil Association, Feb. 2007

    "Peer review(s) of the resort development reports regarding a benefit to
the community and Lake Simcoe are well documented to support the Pipe coming
into the community. Local Groups have supported and lobbied for the Pipe in
past to the Town of Innisfil since the late 1980's. More points for all the
right reasons include: Monies generated by this Resort development to all
levels of government will benefit not only our local community but also the
our whole County of Simcoe; Value will be added to our everyday life thru,
added services of public driven retail shops and services, restaurants, summer
activities in a new public golf course - theatre, walking paths. Jobs created
for our local youth, adult, and entrepreneurs; Conservation of most of the
current green space and existing tree line along the BBP roadway." - Rick
Earhart, Past President, Rockaway Beach Residents Association, Feb. 2007

    "Most importantly, the Memorandum of Understanding has set a standard for
environmental protection of Lake Simcoe that should ensure a clean lake for
our clients and all Ontarians" - Ira T. Kagan, solicitor for The Residents of
Innisfil Association and the Sandycove Homeowner' Association, the largest
ratepayer groups on Big Bay Point, March, 2007



    
    Living Green                                               P.O. Box 1283
    Environmental Action Barrie                                   Barrie, ON
                                                                     L4M 5R4
                                                        www.livinggreen.info

                                                              March 26, 2007
    

    KIMVAR Enterprises Inc.

    Dear Sirs:

    The charitable not-for-profit Environmental Action Barrie: LIVING GREEN
is a citizen's group working for almost two decades to raise environmental
awareness and promote improved practices to bring human activities into
harmony with our environment.
    We recognize the growth pressures on the area around Barrie and Lake
Simcoe. Regional and provincial planning have both targeted this area for
residential growth, and our natural attractions, combined with our proximity
to the GTA population centres, continue to push an expanding recreational
industry.
    Unfortunately, much of this rapid development has been done in a way that
increases our ecological footprint beyond the capacity of our local
environment to bear. This has had deleterious effects on Lake Simcoe and the
surrounding environment.
    We have watched the development of your proposal for the Big Bay Point
resort and found it to be a great improvement on business as usual for this
industry and this area. There are a number of aspects we find commendable.
They include:

    
    -   the high-density design, reducing need for driving within the resort,
        coupled with providing environmentally-protected forest and wetland
        as green spaces instead of high-maintenance turf lawns
    -   Audubon standards for the golf course to prevent harm to birds and
        insects
    -   "dark sky" lighting to reduce harmful effects on migratory birds
    -   LEED certification and district heating/cooling or cogeneration to
        significantly reduce energy consumption
    -   innovative storm water management plans to keep flow into the marina
        clean by directing roof runoff directly into the basin and sending
        other storm water to an irrigation pond
    -   creation and enhancement of fish habitat in the marina
    -   full municipal sewage treatment, with a hook-up to Alcona to allow
        over a thousand existing private septic systems to convert to sewage
        treatment, reducing current phosphorus seepage
    -   public consultation & input through charrettes and meetings with
        Living Green
    

    Proximity to the GTA means that visitors will not need to travel so far
(e.g. Muskoka/Haliburton) to reach their destination, and shared ownership
means that 1500 units can take the place of 5000 or more individually-owned
cottages. Together, these can reduce the regional environmental impact of
tourism and vacationing significantly.
    We hope this resort can be a powerful demonstration to local developers
and planners that innovative and environmentally-positive features can be
incorporated into our residential and recreational development. By providing
this example and showing that such measures don't "break the budget",
attitudes can change and good ideas spread.

    
    We suggest the builders follow these guidelines to sustainable building:

    1.  Must contribute to, or at least not have any negative effect upon,
        the health of residents
    2.  The manufacturing or harvesting of materials follow sustainable
        practices
    3.  As much as possible, products are locally produced (within the same
        bioregion)
    4.  Must be durable, adaptable and have a long life cycle
    5.  Must be able to repurpose, recycle or biodegrade
    6.  Must reduce need for energy
    7.  Must not have a negative impact on air, water or ecosystem throughout
        life cycle

    Examples which follow these guidelines include:

    -   passive solar orientation of dwellings
    -   solar hot water heating or new photovoltaic products like roof
        laminates
    -   wood from sustainable forestry (Forest Stewardship Council Certified)
    -   use of recycled products like Eco-glass tiles, and products that can
        be recycled at end of use like linoleum floors and carpet from
        Interface Flooring, which uses natural fibers with little or no VOC
        off gassing
    -   low VOC (or preferably no VOC) paint
    -   practically everything from kitchen cupboards to counter tops is now
        available in recycled material; there is also quality shelving made
        from straw fibre board
    

    In addition to choosing between district heating/cooling or cogeneration,
you should also look at using ground source heating and cooling, either from
below the site or from the Lake.
    Since rainwater is already being collected, dwelling units could be
plumbed to use rainwater for toilet flushing and laundry. This would save
significantly on the consumption of treated water.
    A tree canopy of 30-40% would provide numerous health and natural
benefits.
    Big Bay Point is likely to be an excellent site for a utility-scale wind
turbine. Installed in shallow water just offshore, it would stand as a vivid
and enduring advertisement of the environmental concern of this development.
    We are very happy to see that you have followed up on some of our prior
suggestions to improve your project by reducing its footprint. We look forward
to sending you more information during future stages of the planning &
building process.

    Sincerely,

    "signed"

    Erich Jacoby-Hawkins
    Board of Directors, EAB: Living Green




For further information:

For further information: Jim Maclean, (416) 236-6082

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Geranium Corporation

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