Toronto – Members of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition are calling for laws about the
noisy, direct engine exhaust systems in high performance motor boats to be
enforced, or for a ban on their use in inland lakes like Lake Simcoe.
A charity poker run, taking place tomorrow, involves ‘cigarette boats’
running at high speeds across most of Lake Simcoe, including runs between
Orillia, Lake Couchiching, Lagoon City, Barrie, and Pefferlaw. While
members of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition appreciate the charitable
activity of those participating in the poker run, they have had enough of
the excessive noise caused by these boats on Lake Simcoe.
Concerned people around the lake are calling the OPP Communications Centre at
1-888-310-1122 to complain about the excessive noise.
“The Lake Simcoe Protection Plan establishes the importance of low-impact
recreation, and its ability to change people’s attitudes towards the lake.
We all need to embrace activities that help and don’t harm the lake, and
this is an activity that is destructive to the lake and irritating to
those not participating. According to the Plan, the province and others
should start working on a recreation strategy now, and we think they could
start with this,” said Claire Malcolmson, Advisor to Campaign Lake Simcoe
at Environmental Defence.
Section 37(1) of the Small Vessel Regulations under the Canada Shipping
Act generally requires mufflers or underwater exhaust, but the law is
neither clear nor strong. It permits boats to use dual-outlet exhaust
manifolds, which essentially allows the driver to flip a switch to exhaust
directly out rather than through a muffler. The law restricts their use to
five miles from shore or farther, which should prevent the use of direct
engine exhaust in Kempenfelt Bay and Cooks Bay, but in practice it does
not.
“Police are left to enforce laws that are practically unenforceable,” said
Paul Nisbet, Board Member of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition. “A much
better solution would be to ban boats over a certain horse-power that use
any form of direct engine exhaust, and only allow quieter muffled
‘through-drive’ exhaust systems on inland lakes. This should include the
outboard engine as well. These large, fast, loud boats are off-shore
racers; they don’t belong on inland lakes.”
“We are concerned about the impacts on fish if the 1000 slip marina
planned at Big Bay Point goes ahead and is home to these boats.  We’ve
asked the Ministry of the Environment to do research on how ‘high
performance boats’ affect the shoreline and fish breeding habitats, to
help determine if the lake can handle any more “performance boats,” said
Oro-Medonte cottager Ed Evans.
The Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition has concerns beyond noise pollution.
According to studies done in other lakes, heavy noise may affect fish
hearing and heart rate. Motorboats also tend to stir up sediment, which
can smother eggs in fish spawning grounds if these areas are not
protected. Additionally, the Lake Simcoe Science Advisory Committee’s
report to the Minister of the Environment in 2008 said, “Boating poses a
risk to water quality by introducing petroleum hydrocarbons to the aquatic
environment.”

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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Claire Malcolmson, Environmental Defence, in Toronto (647) 267-7572 (cell)
Ed Evans, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, in Oro-Medonte (647) 271-8304 (cell)