Give credit where credit is due as it appears the International Joint Commission, the binational governing body that oversees and gives authority to the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, and, ultimately, control over the Moses-Saunders hydroelectric dam in Cornwall, is going to allow the Board to increase outflow levels slightly in an attempt to draw down Lake Ontario.
Whether this puts enough of a drain in water levels on Lake Ontario (and, by extention, the rest of the Great Lakes) prior the spring runoff of 2020 will not be known until that time but some movement by this frustrating group that’s stood by Plan 2014 for far too long is, at the very least, a recognition people, businesses and municipalities on this side of Moses-Saunders are suffering and can’t absorb a third high water event in four years.
A lot of people in our community are becoming more and more studious when it comes to bodies like the IJC and the River Board as well as the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and the development and implementation of Plan 2014 versus its predecessor Plan 1958 D-this corner included.
We consider it a blissful experience in the days prior to Plan 2014’s implementation when lake levels would ebb and flow seemingly dependant on the weather and spring runoff but without continual crisis in communities all along the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Who among us can recall anything like the summers of 2017 and 2019? Other than those interested or concerned about the shipping industry or hydro production knew these governing bodies existed? I’d be willing to wager not many in this community.
With political power being exerted, the IJC seems to be budging somewhat but now is not the time for those pushing for a repeal of Plan 2014 to become complacent.
When the River Board announced in June it was ratcheting up to the maximum outflow at the dam to try and head off rocketing water levels, St. Lawrence Seaway shipping proponents started the hand wringing and drum banging that at that maximum outflow rates, up to $4 Million per day would be lost due to lags where it would be more time consuming for the freighters to navigate the locks system. While the shipping season will slow once the cold weather hits this region in a few weeks, you can still expect more of the same from the shipping side of the table. Especially if the higher outflows persists into the spring time.
And that’s precisely what Plan 2014 has accomplished. It’s pitted communities and people in distress against interests from the shipping industry. For that reason alone Plan 2014 should be shelved and a new, more collaborative plan developed with greater input from all stakeholders- Not just shipping proponents and environmentalists which is what many detractors are claiming these days about Plan 2014’s development.
The business of this part of the world must go on and a healthy and active St. Lawrence Seaway is a large part of our economy. However, that economic benefit shouldn’t come with the cost of devastation of private and public property and the ruination of small business along the way.
MATHER WILL BE MISSED BY MANY
This corner was sad to learn of the passing of community volunteer John Mather last weekend. Mather had a high profile in this community thanks to his involvement with County 99.3 FM but make no mistake, he helped a great many organizations in Prince Edward County- The Food Bank, the Hospital Auxillary and Community Care for Seniors among them.
His Music and Miscellany program on Sunday mornings brought hours of delight to local listeners and we’re sure he enjoyed hosting he program as much as residents loved tuning in.
“He will be missed” is a hackneyed phrase that gets passed around during times like these but for a great many of locals and community organizations, it’s very true today of our loss of John Mather.