Land Use Brawl in the Lake Simcoe Watershed

Georgina residents fight historic development rights on wetlands

In the placid lakeside town of Georgina, about an hour’s drive north of Toronto, a fierce battle is underway to excise the ghosts of a developer past.


"I’d love it to be a forest forever, but I’m a realist,” said Georgina Mayor Rob Grossi. “I don’t have the ability as a mayor or a local council to reverse rights that have been granted by some other level of government.”

This deference, however, does not sit well with Toronto environmental lawyer David Donnelly, who describes the debate in Georgina as “an excellent example of what’s wrong with urban planning in Southern Ontario.”

“Whether it’s the influence of developers in municipal politics or a lack of provincial will to protect our vanishing provincially significant wetlands, a very poor form of development . . . is winning out over environmental protection,” he said.

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