As homeowners all along the south shore of Lake Ontario continue to deal with the impact that flooding had on their homes and property last year, it is critically important that the International Joint Commission reconsider Plan 2014.
Lake Ontario is currently almost a foot higher than normal, yet not high enough to trigger action by the International Lake Ontario — St. Lawrence River Board. The current water level is not a good sign for those who fear a repeat of last year’s high water and flooding. To see firsthand the results of the implementation of Plan 2014, and to choose not to re-examine this plan, is simply and clearly disregard and neglect on the part of the IJC toward the people who live and work along the south shore of Lake Ontario. They willingly chose to ignore residents who knew the damage Plan 2014 would cause for south shore riparians, and the IJC continues to show their willful indifference to those who live on the shoreline.
From the highest level of government on down, there needs to be a focus on amending the current plan to allow for exceptional action to be taken to mitigate high and dangerous water levels, allowing for greater protections to homes and properties along the shoreline. Any plan that regulates Lake Ontario needs to have the ability for human control to address emergencies, as was in place during previous management plans. Plan 2014’s removal of human control ensures a lack of ability to react to the changing nature of the environment during times of need.
I am proud that my colleagues in the New York State Senate, Rich Funke, Pam Helming and Rob Ortt have joined me to fight in opposition to Plan 2014. While we have worked to secure funding to assist those who were damaged by the flooding and high water, the taxpayers of New York state should not be forced to continually pay for the mistakes of the IJC moving forward.
Plan 2014 is a boondoggle for residents of this state no matter where they live. By not reconsidering Plan 2014, the IJC is saying that the tens of millions of dollars of damage that was done to homes and livelihoods, putting their future at risk, is acceptable; as someone who represents this community, I can tell you that it is unacceptable.
The continued failure of the IJC to learn from the mistakes of Plan 2014 ensures that those who live along its shoreline will continue to live in fear and that a repeat of the pain and devastation of 2017 will always be just around the corner.