At a public meeting on October 3, Friends of Swan Lake Park outlined six issues that the new Markham council will be asked to address over the next term.
Eight candidates for council and about 100 area residents attended the meeting in Swan Lake Village. In attendance was Ward 5 Councillor candidate Andrew Keyes who was thanked for his active support of some critical new programs that will help improve and restore Swan Lake Park.
Also in attendance were Mayoral candidates Frank Scarpitti and Don Hamilton and Regional Councillor candidates Nirmala Armstrong, Alan Ho, Jim Jones, Greg Marcos, and Sophia Sun who all outlined their support for the restoration efforts.
Fred Peters, spokesperson for Friends of Swan Lake Park thanked the outgoing council members for their support. In September 2022, council referred to the budget committee the need for a $200,000 engineering study to determine if there are ways to reduce the stormwater entering Swan Lake and to initiate an investigation into ways to reduce the chloride already in the lake and to enhance oxygenation (issues #5 and #6 below). He outlined the six issues before council and noted that the current estimate to restore the lake may exceed $10 million over the next 25 years which will be one of the major challenges for the new council.
Lloyd Robertson moderated a question-and-answer session during which attendees expressed their concern to the candidates about the impact on the community of adding 28,000 residents to the Mount Joy redevelopment program along Markham Road.
Candidates noted that to support the additional population growth, efforts are underway to improve the frequency of the Go train service to help address potential congestion on the local roadways. Scarpitti noted that the city is limited in how it can use development funds arising from the Mount Joy redevelopment, but there may be other ways to address the funding needs for Swan Lake Park’s restoration.
In response to a questionnaire circulated to all candidates, the majority indicated clear support for the six issues listed below:
- Eco Park Strategy for Markham
- Lake Interaction Policy for Markham
- Natural Heritage Network Status for Swan Lake Park
- Shoreline Restoration Plan for Swan Lake
- Ending Swan Lake’s Stormwater Role
- Establishing a Comprehensive Water Quality Program for Swan Lake