As mentioned earlier, this Lake Plan addresses a number of the goals contained in the Huntsville Unity Plan.
Goal #1: Environmental Protection: The community will protect, preserve, restore, and enhance the terrestrial and aquatic environments and biodiversity of Huntsville and surrounding area by being responsible stewards of the environment.
Goal #5: Land Use Planning: Huntsville will become a model of sustainable community development, by incorporating the principles of smart growth, sustainable design and green buildings into all land use planning decisions. This will include a commitment to the protection and maintenance of Huntsville's rural small town character and vibrant downtown, both of which are valued by the community.
Goal #6: Social well-being: The community will encourage and support social diversity and a personal sense of well being by improving accessibility, promoting volunteerism, striving to reduce poverty, and maintaining a healthy, safe, friendly community to live, work, and play for all ages, cultures and abilities.
Natural elements that provide for ecological conditions in the various areas contribute to the living conditions of all species and help to sustain their way of life and their ability to function and to adapt to changing conditions.
The following elements are part of the natural features of the areas. They are consistently under stress both from natural disasters and human development and activity. They require protection at all times by legal, educational and practical means.
Areas of use limitation (e.g. erosion, wetlands, steep slopes, etc.)
The following physical elements are important in determining the carrying capacity in a particular area:
The nature and characteristics of soils
The presence or absence of steep slopes
The size of the area in question
These require careful consideration in any development or change in current use. Particular attention needs to be paid to the possibility of erosion, slope instability, vegetation protection, ground and storm water management and build-up of shoreline silt.
The following elements contribute to the living conditions experienced by people living within the areas. Some people prefer a more natural setting with buildings that blend in with the natural vegetation while others prefer larger buildings that remove natural vegetation and provide for large lawns and extensive vegetation (which must be constantly fertilized) and without proper buffer zones for shoreline protection. Development on natural lakes such as those covered by this lake plan needs to be controlled in such a way that individual land owners' decisions do not negatively impact the enjoyment of the community at large. Broadly speaking, this would be interpreted as favouring natural vegetation and shorelines and limiting the impact of development.
Natural Beauty and Landscape
Development of Vulnerable Lakes and New Technologies
New technologies for dealing with phosphorus have been proposed in recent years and are currently the subject of debate in various settings. Though many people have suggested that, in the long term, it is possible that effective and reliable technologies will be developed to remove phosphorus from sewage waste, these methods are sufficiently controversial at this time that small over-developed vulnerable lakes should not become testing grounds for them.
Said differently, it is one thing for new technologies for capturing phosphorus to be tested on lakes with low phosphorus levels. It is quite a different matter for technological change to be relied on - or experimented with - on a lake that is vulnerable. On a lake that is far below any important phosphorus threshold (i.e., not only not "over threshold" but which can be considered to be have a low level of and a low sensitivity to phosphorus) such experimentation might be acceptable, though there seems to be no reason for those developing such technologies to do their long term planning near any lake.
There is no turning back from the wrong decisions in the case of vulnerable lakes.
There is, of course, another reason to exercise caution in any development of vulnerable lakes. The ability of the Town, the District, and the Province to enforce rules or agreements with respect to development and land use is limited. Seemingly small deviations from development rules may not make much of a difference on lakes that are less vulnerable. But on densely developed and vulnerable lakes, development plans should be avoided where it is clear that the only possibility that they have of being "safe" is if there is complete compliance in development and in their use thereafter. No level of government these days has sufficient resources to monitor and enforce land use practices on individual properties.