Island to host high level, low water meeting with IJC in attendance

by Alicia McCutcheon

LITTLE CURRENT—The Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council (MASC) has confirmed that after months of lobbying, the International Joint Commission (IJC) has indicated it will be holding a hearing in Little Current this July on ever-falling water levels in the upper Great Lakes.

“I think they’re returning, thanks to the amazing turnout in Kagawong last year,” Therese Trainor, MASC secretary, told The Expositor.

She noted that technicians from Ottawa were sent to Little Current to make sure the Northeast Town recreation centre was technologically up-to-date and that video conferencing equipment would work at the location before the IJC would confirm. Such equipment is needed, she explained, because not all of the IJC’s commissioners will be in attendance, but will be linked into the hearing. “There will be live commissioners, too,” Ms. Trainor said.

“(The hearing) will be held Sunday, July 15 in the afternoon at the rec centre in Little Current,” she continued. “We need everyone to come out.”

Ms. Trainor said MASC is asking for before and after shoreline photos to create a permanent record and for display for the day’s proceedings.

“This is it—this is the end of the process for the public to have input,” Ms. Trainor said, urgency in her voice. “The (International Upper Great Lakes Study Board) report has said to do nothing. It’s quite a coup for us to get them on Manitoulin—we’re in a position to do something.”

“We definitely want the public to participate and will be lining up expert testimony. It will be more formal than Kagawong,” Ms. Trainor explained. “It’s a hearing.”

Jim Olson of Flow For Water, based out of Michigan, will give a presentation. Mr. Olson, a lawyer, is known for his work on water as public trust.

Ms. Trainor said Islanders should think positively, pointing to the recent IJC regulation plan to restore Lake Ontario’s water levels.

MASC will release more details on the event as they become available.