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The Weather Network
Feb. 17, 2020 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Flooding is coming this spring and we are running out of time to prevent it
Letter

The following letter has been sent by United Shoreline Ontario to mayors, MPs, MPPs and other political leaders. A copy was submitted to The Lake Report.

Dear editor:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is urging people to prepare for Lake Ontario 2020 water levels “at or above the 2019 water levels.”

Water levels were kept high in Lake Ontario from June through to Dec. 31, 2019 to “protect the safety of shipping” (Plan 2014 L-Limit + 200 cubic metres per second).

It was not until January 2020 that the International Joint Commission opened the Moses-Saunders Dam near Cornwall intermittently to allow outflow of 10,400 cubic metres per second, but it was too late.

The L-Limit and the F-Limits of Plan 2014 disproportionally transferred the injury and the risk to the shoreline, and now shoreline residents find their safety and their homes threatened.

In Ontario, the local government is the first level of response for emergency management in flooding, including prevention and preparedness.

However, the local government can vote not to help, leaving homeowners to their own devices to ward off a large-scale flood.

The provincial and federal governments have not transferred emergency funds to the local level to prepare, nor has a pre-emptive, landscape-level flood mitigation plan been implemented.

United Shoreline Ontario launched a Social Vulnerability Survey to take a snapshot of who lives on the shoreline. This data can be filtered by postal code, if requested. A summary of the first 540 responses received from around Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River upstream of the dam is available online.

We also have a video that looks at these same early results and makes a public pleading for urgent and broad government action in flood preparedness and prevention. Governments must take social vulnerability into consideration when implementing policy.

United Shoreline Ontario is requesting that all shoreline MPs and MPPs turn their attention toward advocating for emergency preparedness on behalf of their constituents.

We are asking that the federal and provincial government fund a comprehensive shoreline emergency management strategy for the anticipated 2020 floods. 

The shoreline is socially vulnerable and the shoreline cannot be left alone to ward off widespread flooding and erosion.

We know this is coming. We are running out of time and a proactive, co-ordinated approach is the best chance of averting catastrophic damages and even death.

Your constituents would welcome your immediate attention to this matter.

Sarah Delicate

President

United Shoreline Ontario

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