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Essex Mayor seeks action on shoreline erosion

by Adam Gault 

Essex Mayor Larry Snively called on Essex County Council to take action on the continuing issue of soil erosion along the Lake Erie shoreline during the County Council meeting held on the evening of Wednesday, September 4.

The meeting highlighted the issues caused by portions of the Great Lakes System rising higher this summer than has ever been recorded, since record keeping began in 1918.

Essex’s Mayor stated he would like to see Essex County Council, along with its administration, form a committee to approach senior levels of provincial and federal government for additional funding for shoreline protection along the beleaguered coastline.

“You’re talking probably a quarter mile of ground being eroded, year-after-year,” Snively explained, referencing some of the hardest-hit areas in the region. “I think we could be the leaders at this level here to push for funding down here.”

An abnormally wet spring, earlier this year, has played a significant factor in this year’s record levels, with winter thaw and extensive precipitation leading to stream flows into the Great Lakes being well above average.

This led to extensive flooding issues in and around Essex County this year, as well as a contributing factor in poor water quality and swim advisory warnings at many area beaches.

Citing an upcoming Special Planning Advisory Meeting in London this coming September 14, Mayor Snively added that the event would provide an excellent opportunity to bring attention to this concern to those senior government members planning to be in attendance at the event.

“I think we should all be in attendance in that meeting in September, we have to do something,” Snively said. “We have to get the Mayor of Windsor involved, there’s been damage all the way along Windsor. I think if we all got together and pushed, and all be at that meeting, we could push senior levels of government.”

Essex County Warden Gary McNamara stated that Essex County and its municipalities would be in attendance for the London meeting, and that funding from the Ontario Green Investment Fund and additional climate change initiatives from the federal level may be allocated to help reinforce Essex County’s shoreline.

“I do believe we need to put pressure, there’s no question,” McNamara said, adding that he had spoken to Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, on the issue, and that he was interested in visiting Essex County to see the damage first hand. “I think it’s important that we have a plan of attack before it’s really needed.”

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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