Watersheds Canada is thankful to Robyn Miller of CBC Ottawa for bringing attention to the exponential pressures and development on Ontario’s waterfront properties as more people work from home and turn their cottages into permanent residences.
Read the full CBC article on their website.
Through the Future of Our Shores report published through the “Planning for our Shorelands” project, fifty-six percent of lake and river association representatives noted that their lake or river environment was already at, or approaching, biological capacity, with an additional 56% noting that their shorelines were getting busier in recent years due to development. This has only increased with COVID-19 and the hot housing market. The average days on the market for a sample of waterfront properties being sold in Ontario’s cottage country in 2020 was 26 days, compared to the 10-year average of around 100 days. This increase in growth and demand is a major concern for residents who are seeing an increase in environmental problems like reduced water quality and invasive species introductions on their lakes and rivers.
So what can and should be done? There needs to be an increase in easily accessible education materials that have a scientific legitimacy to them. There was considerable agreement amongst the three stakeholder groups, including the need to create a collaborative network between the decision-makers of communities and organizations who rely upon freshwater habitats for the economic and ecological services they provide. This could take the form of “shoreland networking” as groups share ideas, case-studies, and best-practices, all of which could occur through the utilization of the forum or networking element. This best management practices e-resource is the next step in the “Planning for our Shorelands” project.