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New poll: Ajax-Pickering voters want sewage treatment plant fix to eliminate algae on waterfront

Monday, May 26th 2014 2:06:16pm


May 26, 2014

(Ajax, Ontario)  A new poll by OraclePoll Research, commissioned by the Town of Ajax, clearly indicates that Ajax residents believe the Province of Ontario must act to fix the output of the Duffin Creek Sewage Treatment Plant. The treated sewage flowing from the plant into Lake Ontario contains large amounts of fertilizer-like phosphorous which results in massive volumes of Cladophora algae being produced and deposited on the Ajax waterfront. A notable element of the algae issue is that the stench of decomposing algae in the summer renders the waterfront unpleasant or unusable.

A review of the OraclePoll Research data suggests that the algae issue has the potential to be an important Ajax-Pickering election issue. A full one-third (33.5%) of respondents said they would vote for a MPP Candidate who committed to have the Region stop releasing the algae- feeding  phosphorous from the Duffin Creek plant.  

The poll indicated that 84% of residents strongly agree or agree that the Regions of York and Durham should be directed by the Province of Ontario to clean up the Ajax Waterfront by stopping the release of phosphorous that feeds algae growth.

Steve Parish, Mayor of Ajax, is concerned about plans to make a bad situation worse as the Regions of Durham and York push to increase the volume of the Duffin Creek plant outflow, which is expected to at least double the volume of algae-inducing phosphorous.

Even more frustrating to Mayor Parish is that the Regions of York and Durham are collecting development charges earmarked for the Duffin Creek plant for new residential growth (80 per cent of which is in York Region), but have been reluctant to support proven technology to fight the algae growth.  

More than 9 in 10 respondents (92%) agree that the development charges currently being collected from both Regions for changes to the Duffin Creek Sewage Treatment Plant should be used to implement a technology that ensures Ajax’s Waterfront does not suffer from algae.

"The research by OraclePoll clearly indicates Ajax voters are onside with the Town's intensive efforts to have the Ontario Minister of Environment "bump up" the current Class Environmental Assessment to properly consider technology that will control the phosphorous and algae,” commented Mayor Parish.

The Mayor also applauded the efforts of community groups such as PACT POW (Pickering Ajax Citizens Together to Protect Our Water) which has taken the opportunity offered by the upcoming provincial election to educate candidates and continue to raise the profile of this important regional issue.    

Algae on the waterfront is an important issue to Ajax voters--a fact highlighted in an Environics poll from earlier in 2014. That survey showed a very high level of awareness (7 out of 10 aware) of the excessive algae, with 35% of those surveyed concerned about the smell of rotting algae. It also showed solving the waterfront algae problem to be a priority for nearly all residents (93%).


Media Contact:
Christie McLardie, Manager of Communications, Town of Ajax, 905-999-8254,

A total of 516 randomly selected Ajax residents, 18 years of age and older, were interviewed via telephone by OraclePoll Research. The survey was conducted on May 21, 2014. The margin of error for the survey is ± 4.0%, 19/20 times.