The municipality of Chatham-Kent has joined more than 80 communities from Ontario, Quebec and eight American states to seek billions of dollars in federal aid for shoreline and water infrastructure projects in the Great Lakes and St Lawrence regions.
The effort, known as the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) is adopting a two-prong approach to the issue, noting that not only will the identified projects help restore shorelines damaged through water levels, but will also create thousands of jobs to help rebuild economies suffering due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Chatham-Kent Coun. Clare Latimer said some $7 billion in projects have been identified in Canada and a further $20 billion in the U.S., a large portion of which can be undertaken as soon as funding is secured.
“It is estimated coastal communities in the Great Lakes have suffered more than a half billion dollars in physical damage due to high water levels in the last year alone,” she said in a media release.
Mayor Darrin Canniff noted that nine million jobs generating nearly a half-trillion dollars in wages each year are in sectors that depend on clean water infrastructure and the health of the Great Lakes.
“From marinas, to tourism to commercial fishing, to our drinking water source, the Great Lakes system is an integral part of our community,” he said. “This is an issue that demands immediate and decisive action.”
Canniff sent a letter to Southwestern Ontario Shoreline roundtable partners and local Indigenous community partners seeking support.
“Our federal government is aware of the urgency but we need as many voices as possible carrying our message to Ottawa and Washington.”