Investors eyeing major development in our community
On December 20, 2018, the township of Wentworth issued a press release indicating the interest of Australian investors to purchase and develop an important tract of land bordering Lake Louisa to the north for recreational tourism purposes.
Spanning over 1500 acres, a two billion dollar, five village, five hotel, spa, golf course and retirement complex has been proposed to be built over 20 years by the newly created Wentworth Integrated Tourism Resort Inc.
Of utmost importance to the citizens of Wentworth is the preservation of the health of Lake Louisa and the potential disruption to the fragile balance of nature that allows both our lake and the surrounding environment to thrive.
In an effort to maintain transparency and address the questions and concerns of its citizens, the council held an open information session on February 24, 2019. Despite the harsh, inclement weather of that day, interest in the development was so great that the Rec Centre was overfilled, with citizens taking all available space within the centre.
Despite the promoter’s readiness to develop the project with the council and respect and address the concerns of our citizens and the potential economic windfall to our municipality, reaction to the presentation was mixed.
Our members have expressed that, although many aspects of the promoter’s proposal could potentially benefit them by encouraging further development in the area and providing much needed corporate tax dollars and other proposed advantages, concerns about how the negative effects of such an immense project could have on the environment surrounding the lake were significant. Primarily, concerns about how construction would affect the watershed area inherent in this tract of land, on the health of the lake, as well as human waste disposal, the potential use of pesticides and fertilizers and increased traffic via roads that were not conceived to accommodate this level of activity.
The LLPOA has drafted the following letter in response.
March 20, 2019
To the Wentworth Mayor and Council Members,
On behalf of the Lake Louisa Property Owners Association, I am writing to express our alarm about the presentation at the Wentworth Community Centre on February 24th.
We recognize the potential economic benefit for the area if the Wentworth Integrated Tourism Resort Inc. (WITRI) proposal goes ahead, however we fear the probability of irreversible environmental damage to our lake.
There are 816 residential properties in Wentworth now, over 450 of those are around Lake Louisa. They have a reasonable expectation that their municipal government will represent their best interests and will do everything within its power to protect the reason they are here. That reason is Lake Louisa itself.
Our residents have worked hard to protect our lake. They are proud of how clean it is. They make use of the information on ecological practices provided to them by the LLPOA, and abide by the protective bylaws put in place by the municipality. They understand the delicate balance between human activity and the health of the lake must be maintained, which would be impossible with a development of the size proposed.
We appreciate that some modifications have been made to the plan to make it more agreeable to the community, such as forgoing the use of the Lake Louisa North Road and any direct access to the lake which may be available to the WITRI, however, these changes would not alleviate the threat to the lake water itself.
By their own admission, the WITRI and its affiliated group will be testing a concept created for use in other environments and climates. As was discussed in the presentation, their project in our municipality would be the first of other developments they hope to build in North America. We are not at all convinced that the construction of a 5 village development and a golf course in a prohibitive terrain could be realized without significant environmental damage. Moreover, it is common knowledge that the negative environmental impact of a golf course is enormous, especially since its placement is directly within our watershed. This is of great concern to our residents, judging from the pulse of the attendees, LLPOA members and residents on the lake.
On behalf of our members, we urge you to use all mechanisms at your disposal, to either block this plan in its present form, or to shape it into a project that will not threaten the health of Lake Louisa. We would be happy to work with you to develop strategies that will minimize any impact on the health of the lake, our flora and our fauna.
President Lake Louisa Property Owners Association
At this point in time, the LLPOA has committed to keeping a watchful eye on this proposal. We encourage you to share your comments either directly with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or with the city council, with a copy to the LLPOA. It is also important to register to receive updates from the township of Wentworth.