Pro­tect­ing Our Lakes is a Pri­or­ity for Marie-Claude Bibeau

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Mem­phrem­a­gog

In re­sponse to the heart­felt ap­peal by eight lake as­so­ci­a­tions in her rid­ing, Mme Bibeau is com­mit­ted to work­ing on this is­sue, which she con­sid­ers key to the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of the re­gion.

The Hon. Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Comp­ton-Stanstead and Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment and La Fran­co­phonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, kept a prom­ise she made dur­ing her re­gional pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions by meet­ing on Fri­day, Septem­ber 9th with del­e­gates from eight of the most ac­tive lake and river as­so­ci­a­tions in the rid­ing. Eco­nomic Driv­ers

The as­so­ci­a­tions chose boat­ing as the topic of dis­cus­sion with Mme Bibeau and took the op­por­tu­nity to show her pic­tures of the se­ri­ous threats that loom over their lakes. Bleu Mas­saw­ippi or­ga­nized the meet­ing and chose to hold it at the Rip­ple­cove, one of the most re­mark­able sites on Lake Mas­saw­ippi in or­der to high­light from the out­set what strong eco­nomic driv­ers the lakes are for the small mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and how im­por­tant it is to pro­tect them. Turn­ing the Tide

In their pre­sen­ta­tion, the as­so­ci­a­tions said that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s mo­tor­ized ves­sels reg­u­la­tion needs to be re­viewed be­fore it is too late for the lakes. Their brief, Plai­sance ou Dé­plai­sance, In­verser le courant [When Plea­sure Boat­ing be­comes Un­pleas­ant, Turn­ing the Tide], fo­cusses on the eco­log­i­cal and eco­nomic rea­sons for in­ter­ven­ing, and also ad­dresses the is­sue of safety, health, pub­lic ac­cess, and qual­ity of life, a fun­da­men­tal Cana­dian value ac­cord­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tions. The group made four rec­om­men­da­tions. “We are not talk­ing about clos­ing the lakes or lim­it­ing ac­cess to them,” ex­plains Robert Benoit from Mem­phré­m­a­gog Con­ser­va­tion, “but maybe with bet­ter nav­i­ga­tion reg­u­la­tions we could hope to keep them open.”

Part­ner­ship and Pri­or­ity

One by one, the del­e­gates from the Lover­ing, Ma­gog, Mem­phré­m­a­gog, Miroir, Lys­ter, Louise, and Mas­saw­ippi lakes, and the Ma­gog river, used con­crete ex­am­ples to de­scribe the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact that boat­ing has had on their body of wa­ter. “I am sim­ply ask­ing you to help us pro­tect my lake, said Jean-Guy Des­fos­sés from Lys­ter Lake. It is your lake, our lake, and that of the thou­sands of hik­ers from Mont Pi­na­cle who use the pub­lic beach”. Ev­ery­one said they were pre­pared to work with Min­is­ter Bibeau on find­ing so­lu­tions.

Fed­eral Juris­dic­tion

Michèle Gérin from Bleu Mas­saw­ippi spoke to the is­sue of fed­eral juris­dic­tion over nav­i­ga­tion and the prob­lems the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties face when it comes to reg­u­lat­ing their lakes. She said that the Of­fice of Boat­ing Safety pol­icy does not have enough teeth when it comes to pro­tect­ing lakes: “Lakes may be open to the pub­lic, but they are not high­ways. They are pri­mar­ily ecosys­tems, drink­ing wa­ter reser­voirs, and tourist at­trac­tions. Bet­ter man­age­ment of our lakes will help keep them around for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing plea­sure boaters”. The eight as­so­ci­a­tions are ask­ing that the plea­sure boat­ing file be re­ferred to En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Canada and that na­tional stan­dards based on widely-ac­cepted sci­en­tific knowl­edge be adopted im­me­di­ately.

Mme Bibeau ap­pre­ci­ates the as­so­ci­a­tions’ heart­felt ap­peal and hard work and says she will bring the mat­ter to the at­ten­tion of her col­leagues at Trans­port and En­vi­ron­ment. She added that part of her role as Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment is to sup­port the United Na­tions Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals, in­clud­ing ac­cess to safe drink­ing wa­ter, and the pro­tec­tion and restora­tion of wa­ter-re­lated ecosys­tems, ob­jec­tives that are closely linked to the lakes and rivers file she is com­mit­ted to tak­ing an ac­tive role on.

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