Tensions High over the Future of Lake Ontario's Waters

Tensions High over the Future of Lake Ontario's Waters

The International Joint Committee wants to adopt "Plan 2014" allowing it to raise and lower lake levels as it wishes, but Congressman Chris Collins says the plan is fatally flawed.
Residents along Lake Ontario have a supporter when it comes to saving their homes.

Congressman Chris Collins says a plan to regulate water levels in the lake needs to be thrown overboard. He thinks it will destroy the shoreline and the boating industry.

The plan is gaining momentum but not without strong opposition from waterfront property owners.

Fred Birchard and his family have made Lake Ontario their summer getaway since 1894.

"Our grandchildren are the fifth generation that have been vacationing here," said Birchard.

But he fears his lakefront property will be washed away if the agency that oversees water levels has its way.

"The water when it's calm today is right up against the bank. The littlest wave takes part of the bank away and we have not had that happen since 1973," said Birchard.

The International Joint Committee wants to adopt "Plan 2014" allowing it to raise and lower lake levels as it wishes, but Congressman Chris Collins says the plan is fatally flawed.

"The higher levels will destroy our shoreline. The low levels will destroy our boating industry," said Collins.

A plan that Collins says is dangerous to the entire community no matter where you live.

"Your shoreline disappears. You are going to go challenge your assessment. You are going to get your assessment lowered. You are going to pay less property taxes but you wanted to keep your shoreline and then that extra tax burden has to be spread along everyone else who isn't even on the lake," said Collins.

While "Plan 2014" doesn't sit well with these folks, IJC has said it's necessary to protect the lake's natural habitat.

Property owners, like Fred, believe it will do more harm than good.

"The environmentalists are killing us. They want some bird to be okay and billions and billions of dollars is going to be lost in land value," said Birchard.

"In this situation, there is no money, no plans for anything to deal with the devastating impact of Monroe, Wayne, Orleans and Niagara Counties and for that reason alone it should be stopped," said Collins.
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