The City of Greater Sudbury will soon start searching for scientists to study pollution in the Ramsey Lake watershed.
But there is now debate on whether development should be allowed to continue before that study is complete.
City staff hope to have the Ramsey Lake watershed study out for bids this fall, meaning the research might start over the winter. It would likely take a year before it's in the hands of Sudbury city council.
Councillor Frances Caldarelli said she doesn’t want to see any more construction around the lake before then.
"I think we have to know what that lake is able to take before we go ahead and just issue building permits,” she said.
Caldarelli isn't proposing a development freeze, but does want the city to put a hold on large-scale projects.
But the city's infrastructure general manager, Tony Cecutti, doesn't think that's a good idea.
He said the solution to Ramsey's water quality problems is controlling storm water that runs in from drains all over the city — and that infrastructure could cost as much as $60 million.
Cecutti said the taxes and development fees that come from new housing projects will help pay for it.
"So, without development, we'd be in a worse situation, in my opinion,” he said. “And certainly we're going to be no worse off, if we allow that development to only go ahead with responsible environmental principles."
Developer reworks plans
This debate could come to a head next month, when a developer proposing to build 130 homes and condos on the shores of Ramsey Lake is hoping to get the go-ahead from city council.
Developer Norm Eady wants to build 60 homes and condo towers with about 70 units off Keast Drive, near Laurentian University.
The proposal got a raucous reception at a public meeting in February.
Eady said he's been getting the required studies done and has made some adjustments to his plan.
"The condo buildings have gone up a floor on some of them and we've given up more waterfront, [and] we're down to 11 waterfront lots,” he said. “So, there's more total green space on the subdivision."
Eady said he hopes his Ramsey Lake development, which he calls University Park, will be before Greater Sudbury's planning committee for a vote in October.