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Lake Champlain: the pressure on Ottawa

(Ottawa) The water quality of Lake Champlain does not appear at the top of the priority list of the Trudeau government’s response plan for the lake and the Richelieu River. Efforts will focus instead on measures to prevent floods such as those of 2011 are repeated.
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They have a very different direction from ours on what needs to be done and it does not meet our needs, “says Bedford Mayor Yves Levesque.

“We had no problems with the water quality of the lake before. We are now. It is necessary that the International Joint Commission adjusts its mandate to deal with too, she goes a notch further, “says the MP for Brome-Missisquoi, Denis Paradis.

Last March, dropping his first budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced a plan of $ 7.5 million for Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. Several speakers riverside municipalities of the lake saw it as a commitment to fight against the problems of quality of the lake water, especially cyanobacteria.

However, this is not the direction taken by Canadian officials of the International Joint Commission (IJC), the Canada-US body that coordinates into Lake Champlain. The priority, says one, is to use the money to make to reduce the risk of flooding.

This orientation, which stems from the plane, surprised the mayor of Bedford, Yves Lévesque. This last part in mid-May with the member for Brome-Missisquoi, Denis Paradis, a meeting with the Canadian IJC Chair, Gordon Walker. The two regional politicians have learned the news with amazement.

“They are very aware of our problems of cyanobacteria. But that’s not what interests them. They want to avoid further flooding in the (river) Richelieu. They have a very different direction from ours on what needs to be done and it does not meet our needs, “says Mr. Levesque.

Persuader

A work of persuasion is needed to convince the MIC to reconsider its policy in favor of improving the water quality of Lake Champlain, believes Mr. Lévesque. The mayors of the municipalities bordering must use it for the money the plan is facing this problem, he said. “We need this budget oriented to our needs, our goals,” says the mayor whose city draws its drinking water from the lake.

Careful not to criticize his party, Mr. Paradis was more nuanced. While recognizing that the orientation of the CMI surprised, he recalled that the federal plan also included the Richelieu River. “We said we would work for the lake and river. the two can do, “he assured interview Monday during a reception on Parliament Hill where he received municipal officials and representatives of associations of the constituency.

Being of his time

The IJC should be of his time, however, said Mr. Paradis. Founded in 1909 in a treaty between Canada and the US to discuss issues related to lakes shared by the two countries, the MIC has worked mainly on security issues, including the risk of flooding.

Times have changed, noted the veteran MP. “We had no problems with the water quality of the lake before. We are now. It is necessary that the International Joint Commission adjusts its mandate to care for them too, it goes a tick further. ”

US members of CMI, said Mr. Paradis, are sensitive to the issue of cyanobacteria in Lake Champlain and the environmental and economic impacts they cause. They will agree to act on this issue, he believes. “The Vermont and upstate New York are already doing a lot. We all have to protect it.

Solutions sought
Four to five processes to remove cyanobacteria Lake Champlain will be analyzed at the beginning of July by a committee of mayors whose municipalities bordering the lake.

Action Lake Champlain, the name that the ad hoc group was given this weekend, plans to use in September of the next meeting of all members of the International Joint Commission to present the best solutions.

Companies proposing processes have already been identified, said the Mayor of Bedford, Yves Lévesque. “We want their solution they show us that works.” Successful companies are Quebec, Mr. Lévesque said.

It shows open to considering all possibilities. “If there is a technique somewhere in the world that works, we’re ready to try it here. We want it to move. ”

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