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Oct 29, 2019

Suzie MironBy Craig Ritchie

Suzie Miron

The International Joint Commission (IJC), a bi-national organisation established by the Canadian and American governments to manage water quality and levels on the Great Lakes, has appointed Montreal city councilor Suzie Miron to its International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River management board effective immediately.

Miron joins Bill Reilich, a supervisor for the town of Greece, New York, as the newest member of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River board. The appointment of Miron and Reilich reflects the board’s commitment to solicit greater local-level input with respect to water management issues.

Submerged Gas PumpThe submerged fuel dock at Ed Huck Marine in the Thousand Islands in the summer of 2019.

Water levels for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are controlled by the Moses-Saunders Dam near Cornwall. The IJC has come under heavy criticism over the past three years following the implementation of new water level management protocols that are being widely blamed for contributing toward record flooding in 2017 and again this year. That criticism peaked this summer after marina operators, municipalities from across the region and even former New York State governor Mario Cuomo claimed that a sluggish response by IJC to heavy spring rainfall directly contributed to extensive flooding that left marina infrastructures including docks, electrical equipment, fuel pumps and septic systems underwater for months, resulting in billions of dollars in damage.

When asked about the potential costs of the flooding, Boating Ontario president Rick Layzell was point-blank, stating “make no mistake about it, the clean-up costs for this are going to be absolutely staggering,”

Bronte Marine DocksBronte Harbor docks in the summer of 2019.

The Great Lakes region remains the largest and most economically important recreational boating market in North America, with the highest number of boats per capita and the highest level of new boat registrations annually in both sides of the international border.

Miron and Reilich join the IJC Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River board as it prepares to review water management policy moving forward. The agency recently concluded a series of public meetings held across the region, with written submissions due by October 31.