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CVC developing new management plans for Island Lake

April 2, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

The future of Island Lake was an area of focus at Orangeville Council’s meeting last Monday (March 22).

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) lands planner and project manager for the Island Lake Management Plan, Kate Burgess delivered a presentation, outlining the plans development.

Island Lake is a protected conservation area, almost 330 hectares, characterized by its large reservoir and surrounding wetlands, upland forest, plantations, and meadows.

“We’re so fortunate to have this [Island Lake Conservation Area] in our neighbourhood. It’s great for hiking, biking and walking, and all the programs that you put on over there is fantastic. We just finished a great ice fishing season. There was some skating out there. Just a marvelous place for everybody,” said Mayor Sandy Brown

Popular activities and events at Island Lake include canoeing, kayaking, hiking, social gatherings, fishing derbies, Canada Day Fireworks, and amphitheatre events.

“It offers four seasons of recreation and is a very beloved resource for our community of Orangeville and Mono,” said Burgess, during her presentation to Council. “It’s to be the northern trailhead of the Credit Valley Trail, which is a vision of 100-kilometer trail from the Headwaters of the Credit River in Orangeville through to the Mouth of the Credit in Port Credit.”

In 2020, the CVC generated $520,000 in revenues through Island Lake with 272,000 visits, which was their target. Visitation has been steadily increasing for the last six years.

“Something important to note is that 76 per cent of that visitation is through our trail access points, so it’s a very much beloved trailed by our communities,” said Burgess.

She also noted that Island Lake has a positive impact on Orangeville’s economy.

“The park has a relationship with the local businesses and restaurants and outdoor recreational shops. When people come from other regions into the park, they are often stopping into the community, whether that’s for coffee or gas or shopping,” she explained.

The conservation area was first opened to the public in the 1970s following the construction of two dams.

In terms of the Island Lake Management Plan, Burgess shared that the key pressures are water quality and levels, dam operations, invasive species, sustainable revenue streams, and parking for visitors.

“Through last summer’s operating season, we know that vehicle cueing can be a problem for people getting into the park… so we want to look at that as a pressure and how we can start to alleviate that problem,” said Burgess.

Consultations with the public, stakeholder team, and technical team for the Island Lake Conservation Area Management Plan kicked off in March and will continue through April, while the final plan is expected to seek Council endorsements in the first quarter of 2022.

The results of those consultations will be used to direct the plan’s strategic direction, guiding statements, and really, the vision for the future of Island Lake.

Last fall CVC mailed out a survey to gather community input on Island Lake and received back 437 responses, which was quite high, according to Burgess.

“We were really pretty happy with that. We didn’t expect it to be that high and it was a great response, and we’re hoping for even more for the upcoming public consultations,” Burgess noted.

Municipal councils, Mississauga’s of the Credit and the Credit Valley Trails Indigenous Roundtable are being consulted about the plan as well.

The plan is expected to be approved early in 2022.



         

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