Water sampling at Porcupine Lake is getting an enhancement.
At this week's council meeting, a motion was approved asking City of Timmins staff to commission an enhanced sampling program at the lake in the east end of town.
The goal is to provide information for council to make rehabilitation decisions for the lake and its river system.
“Obviously the current questions around the quality of the lake or the sampling program that is being done remain a large part of the public discussion so this resolution is to try and provide that assistance to the residents in the area,” said Timmins Mayor Steve Black.
Currently, he said the sampling is done at a few key areas, including the beach. The enhanced sampling, he said, would be a cross-lake review.
The motion also calls for the potential rehabilitation program to be included in the 2019 budget, and to allow time to submit grant applications.
“I think Porcupine Lake is obviously an important asset to that section of the community and people from around the community who use the area and obviously that’s one of our main splash pad areas as well so it should be treated as one of the fundamental areas for the city as well,” Black told council. “This is important to go through this process and provide some additional sampling and transparency to all the residents and answer any remaining questions on the status of the lake.”
This year, a group of residents concerned about the sewage being bypassed into Porcupine Lake has become more active in its efforts to protect the watershed.
Recently the Friends of the Porcupine River Watershed and the Porcupine Lake Information Group merged to form a new Friends of the Porcupine River Watershed to create a stronger voice and community presence.
The group is also working with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), a non-profit specialty law clinic, to look at potential options to clean up the lake.
After a public information session last month, the group secured a sit-down with reps from the City of Timmins.
“The group has offered to take me on a kayak trip or a canoe trip up the river as well, I can say the pictures that they have shared are enough to say that this should done and we should move forward with looking at some remedial action as determined necessary in that area,” said Black.
He has also been in meetings with representatives from the Ministry of Environment and the Porcupine Health Unit. He said there is a ministry report that will be coming forward with a series of recommendation on the city’s current program for the lake and what needs to be done.