This letter was sent to The Globe and Mail in response to the following article:
Re Residents, cottagers in Ontario’s Muskoka region fight quarry proposal near unique Skeleton Lake (April 1st):
Imagine a postcard perfect Ontario wilderness lake in front of you. You can drink the water, loons call and swim by in the early morning. How is it possible that one could be so lucky to enjoy such a place, and it still exists? Then a ten or twenty ton gravel truck rumbles down the road behind you, a road categorised as a scenic route through what Muskoka Tourism says is “consistently named as one of the best places to visit in Canada and the world by publications such as National Geographic, Frommer’s and Reader’s Digest. Discover what makes Muskoka so amazing.” Those trucks are already rolling by every day, but for now mostly for a few peak hours in the mornings and evenings, less frequently on the weekends. The proposed quarry near Skeleton Lake would turn up the volume to a constant flow seven days a week, dawn to dusk and beyond. Traffic noise levels now exceed 80 decibels while sitting on the shore. Unfortunately, planners with a lack of foresight never imagined trucks using this scenic route as a shortcut between highway 11 and 400 and placed the road extremely close to Skeleton Lake on the north side. It passes less than 100 feet from many dwellings and the lake. Now they risk making the same mistake again. More than 100 trucks a day could be rumbling by. I don’t think the loons would like that. It might be a bit difficult to discover what makes Muskoka so amazing once phosphorous and mercury levels rise and pollute first Skeleton Lake and then Lakes Muskoka and Rousseau. Oh, but you might never get near the water as the noise and dust from the gravel trucks would scare you (and the loons) away.
I thank you for your excellent article and putting a spotlight on this issue.