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Shade's Mills will not open for ice-fishing this season

Authorities say spilled jet fuel is to blame
Jet fuel spill on 401
50,000 litres of jet fuel spilled onto the 401 on Sun. Jan. 13, 2019 when a tractor trailer rolled over. Photo credit: OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt

The situation surrounding this past weekend's jet fuel spill in the area of the 401 and Highway 6 North continues to deliver bad news.

The Grand River Conservation Authority has now announced they've been told by the Ministry of Environment that contaminants from the spill have migrated further downstream in Mill Creek than originally believed.

For that reason, the GRCA said there will be no ice fishing this season at the Shade's Mills Conservation Area.

Manager of Communications for the GRCA Lisa Stocco said that it's going to be a while before the full impact is known.

"Obviously we'll want to look at the impact on the fishery and water quality," says Stocco. "We're aware that jet fuel contains an anti-icing component to it, and we're not sure if that would have any impact on the stability of the ice. As a precaution -- in the interest of public safety as a responsibility to the visitors of our park -- we've decided not to offer ice-fishing until we have a better understanding of the impact."

Stocco said that jet fuel contains an anti-icing agent, which prompted concerns about the stability of the ice.

She adds that Belwood lake is open and has met ice safety requirements, so if you feel the angling itch, you can head there.

Stocco said that, as they look to the future, it's unclear whether they'll be able to run their regular programs.

"Moving ahead toward the Spring and the Summer, we do offer swimming at Shade's Mills, for example, and other recreational activities in the reservoir itself," said Stocco. "We don't know what the impact to that will be at this time."

Stocco said that there is also no word yet on the impact that this will have on wildlife in the area, and that they'll continue to work with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to determine that.


Ben Eppel

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