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Unanimous support to question Plan 2014; investigate water levels

UPDATE JUNE 25: Council unanimously voted to support Mayor Steve Ferguson’s bid to join other communities in seeking an investigation into the International Joint Commission and Plan 2014.

Councils in Quinte West, Brighton and Belleville have also passed resolutions to ask the IJC and government to investigate the plan and study flooding in 2017 and 2019 and how water levels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence system were handled.

UPDATE June 13: Council supported Mayor Ferguson’s resolution and several councillors commented on ways this year’s flooding is affecting residents.

The mayor said he is receiving daily calls from constituents about their current circumstances and feels it’s council’s responsibility to County residents to request the inquiry into 2017 and 2019 flooding.

That morning, he said a woman who was effectively trapped in her house, had to have the fire department called to extract her because at 80 years old she was not only surrounded by water, but was panicking.

“Yesterday I learned about water snakes just floating up to people’s kitchen doors because the water’s so high.”

He spoke of the effects of shoreline damage on County Road 12 shows approximately four feet of one side lost to the lake and noted shoreline damage to the circumference of County with many people inconvenienced, and insecure.

“The intent is to ask for the inquiry, so if adjustments can be made to mitigate or minimize something happening in the future.”

Councillor John Hirsch noted he has spoken with several residents whose properties were damaged in the 2017 floods, and following improvements using stone at costs of $20-30,000, are now watching it all wash back into the lake. Others are wearing hip waders to get from their parking spot to their home.

Mayor Ferguson said New York State has declared ‘states of emergency’ in eight counties. Brighton has put forward a resolution and neighbouring municipalities are also considering a resolution.

Wellington Beach parking lot under water this month. – John Ferguson photo

Mayor seeks governments review of flooding; international plan to regulate water flows

As Lake Ontario remains at record high levels, County Mayor Steve Ferguson will seek a resolution today that requests the federal and provincial governments investigate flooding in 2017 and 2019 in affected communities along the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River – specifically the economic impacts and damage to infrastructure.

The resolution also requests that the International Joint Commission (IJC) Plan 2014 by the governments and USA government, be evaluated and measured for effectiveness and verifiable impacts.

Several communities on both sides of the border are seeking answers as they question the effectiveness of managing water levels. Plan 2014 was put in place three years ago and two out of those three years brought severe flooding and damage and has since drawn criticism as water levels rise.

The IJC approved plan was designed to regulate water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St.
Lawrence River to protect against extreme water levels, to restore wetlands and to prepare for climate change. But Ferguson’s resolution notes it may have had deleterious effects on the shorelines of Prince Edward County and other municipalities surrounding Lake Ontario.

Prince Edward County, notes Ferguson, possesses one of the longest distances of shoreline of any Ontario municipality or United States of America (US) counties on Lake Ontario.

His resolution notes the IJC Plan proposed that average annual coastal damages on the Lake Ontario shoreline would be approximately $46 million under natural conditions, and approximately $20 million under Plan 2014.

The County’s Emergency Management Control Group has been regularly meeting since April 24, 2019 to actively monitor rising water levels, and their threat and impact on municipal property and infrastructure, private property and the tourism economy of the County, and is concerned about references to the current flooding arising from implementing Plan 2014 as being the “new normal” to be expected.

This year, Lake Ontario has exceeded the record daily peak of 75.88 m which was experienced from May 25 to May 28, 2017 and that peak was 82 cm above average for this time of year. The water level is expected to continue to rise due to record high water levels in the other Great Lakes that drain into Lake Ontario, reaching its peak within 1-3 weeks.

If approved, the resolution would be forwarded to Prime Mininster Justin Trudeau, Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark; Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, the Great Lakes International Joint Commission (IJC), and to all other Ontario municipalities surrounding Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).

Council’s Committee of the Whole meets today at 1 p.m. in Shire Hall.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. P. Rubens says:

    This is a serious problem in Lake Ontario, one that is exclusively due to dam mismanagement. Plan 2014 is only one of several issues, another is construction on flood plains and the very debatable issue of “climate change”.
    None the less, the management of all of these issues is being done primarily through the control of dams on the Ottawa and St Lawrence Rivers.
    It is man-made technology, (the use and misuse of dams) that has been the principle cause of flooding.
    And I have irrefutable evidence to that effect.

  2. LB says:

    Thank you Council for recognizing that immediate and urgent action is required.

    Whatever efforts and influence Council can employ (in concert with all other Lake Ontario stakeholders) to ensure the water levels under Plan 2014 don’t exceed [even near] record levels again would be much appreciated!

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