Homeowners Concerned About Plan to Change Lake Ontario Water Level Regulations

Feb 22, 2016
Originally published on February 22, 2016 6:12 pm

A regional alliance is rallying against a proposal to change water level regulations on Lake Ontario.

The water levels are currently regulated by a dam on the Saint Lawrence River. There are maximums and minimums, meaning the water can only get so high and so low at certain times.

The International Joint Commission (IJC), which oversees waterway regulation between the U.S. and Canada, has proposed new regulations for what these maximums and minimums should be.

A spokesman for the IJC, Frank Bevacqua, says the new regulations would mean greater fluctuation in water levels that would more accurately resemble natural variation. The hope is it will improve the health of surrounding wetlands, which have been taken over by invasive cattails.

But homeowners living on Lake Ontario's shoreline are concerned about their increased exposure to potential flood damages.

Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini says these homeowners weren't considered in the making of this plan.

"There are people that support the plan. They don't live on the lake shore. They don't have homes on the lakeshore. They don't have businesses on the lake shore. They have other interests."

Assini has called on Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who he is currently campaigning to contest in the next election, to block the plan. He has joined representatives from Niagara and Ontario County in an alliance to try to convince the U.S. State Department to reject the proposal.

A statement attributed to Congresswoman Slaughter reads, “As I have for many years, I remain focused on ensuring that all local voices are heard throughout this process as deliberations move forward. I look forward to reviewing feedback on this plan from the appropriate state and federal authorities.”