Protecting Our Lakes is a Priority for Marie-Claude Bibeau
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.
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.