The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

August 30, 2013

County rejects IJC plan

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The International Joint Commission has announced a plan for 2014 that deals with water levels and erosion on Lake Ontario.

The Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday unanimously voted to request that the IJC reject that plan.

“This is a new name for an old plan,” said Legislator Lynne Johnson.

She explained the IJC, which is made up of representatives from Canada and the U.S., works jointly to determine the water level of Lake Ontario. The plan, she said, does not take into account Orleans County’s lakefront properties, nor its effect on the fishing and tourism industries.

Legislator Donald Allport agreed, saying Canada has much of the control in the IJC. Their decisions are made in an effort to keep Montreal from flooding, he said.

“We have little say,” Allport explained.

He said changes to the lake would result in water pushed toward the U.S. side of Lake Ontario, leading to significant land erosion along the northern border of Orleans County.

In the resolution the county passed, a National Academy of Sciences peer review was mentioned as calling the IJC plan benefits “based upon speculative and unreliable research.”

The resolution said the plan would leave county residents with homes and businesses along Lake Ontario both at risk of damage to their properties as well as their wallets.

“Residents…have voiced their concern about a proposed change in lake levels that would result in significant damage to their properties and a corresponding decrease in revenues from recreational boaters and fishermen, both locally-based and those traveling internationally,” the rejection resolution stated.

Legislature Chairman Dave Callard said it was important for Orleans County to take a stand.

“We need to react so people realize we don’t want this change,” he said. “This has been defeated twice before, but we need to continue speaking our mind.”