Lake shore advocates hoping for more flood relief

September 01, 2018 11:02 PM

Advocates for people along the lake shore are hoping for more help to head off disastrous floods now that new members are on track to join the International Joint Commission.

The IJC regulates levels on Lake Ontario and critics blame its policies for last years flooding on the lake.

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Earlier this week President Trump announced replacements for the three Americans on the IJC, including one from western New York.

Lake levels here look a lot different than they did last spring, but that doesn't mean homeowners along the lake shore are safe from damage.

Christopher Kehoe lives along the lake shore, he told News10NBC "It's been high this year mostly from the lasting effects of last year but right about now it's where it usually is for this time of year."

His property suffered thousands of dollars in damage after the disastrous flooding of spring 2017.

"I had to build a whole new structure to fortify my property," Kehoe explained.

Kehoe like many others has concerns about Plan 2014, a plan designed by the IJC to control water levels in the Saint Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

For homeowners and advocates they are hopeful this new nominee, Jane Corwin, will consider western New York as she makes decisions for the commission.

The President of the Lake Ontario South Shore Council, Henry Stewart said, "we're very thankful that last years circumstances are not existing this year but it doesn't take away from the concern that's there."

He is hopeful about Jane Corwin's nomination as new leadership at the IJC, the entity that controls the shared waterways between the United States and Canada.

"We hope that she will be in tune with what the interests and concerns of the Lake Ontario shoreline community," Stewart explained.

Corwin is a Buffalo area native and former Republican state assembly member.Her district included a portion of Orleans County and the Lake Ontario shoreline.

"Community outreach through all of the issues about the Lake Ontario flooding there was a sense that the commission wasn't engaging the community so certainly I'd want to improve that," Corwin mentioned. "The weather vent that we experienced in the spring of 2017 during the analysis that led to plan 2014, so certainly we want to go back to the commission and incorporate any new data regarding weather events."

Corwin also says she wants to revisit plan 2014, a controversial plan for managing water levels that many blame for flooding while the IJC blamed a wet spring.

For Stewart the commission taking another look at plan 2014 is at the top of his list for things he'd like to see the new leadership do.

He also reminded the public that even though lake levels have decreased homeowners are still dealing with the costly impacts of last springs flooding.

That means repairing break walls, rebuilding crumbled structures and more.

Before Corwin takes office she must be confirmed by the Senate.


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