CEWF responds to a Federal Candidate’s Request for our Views on the Plan put forward by the Working Group on the TSW
One of the candidates in the upcoming federal election asked CEWF if we supported the proposed four point plan recently advanced by a group called the Working group on the TSW. CEWF has a serious concern with the plan and we responded to the candidate and subsequently forwarded our response to all candidates in the two ridings covering the reservoir lakes, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and Peterborough-Kawartha. The CEWF response is summarized below.
The Working group on the TSW is a group, based on the canal Lakes and the Trent River, that is campaigning for more support for the TSW particularly related to canal operation, economic development and tourism. They have no representation from the reservoir lake areas. They recently presented their Four Point Plan for a Sustainable Future for the Waterway which has received attention in the local press. They are calling on all candidates in the upcoming federal election to support the TSW by pledging their support for the following four points if elected to the Parliament of Canada.
1. Support full funding for critical infrastructure maintenance and upgrades to bring the TSW up to a state of good repair
2.Recognize the TSW as a significant economic development opportunity for the region
3. Support a new governance model that devolves operations, control and financing of the TSW to those who live and work in the region
4. Promote the TSW as an economic development priority in your caucus and in Parliament
The CEWF Response to the Working Group Plan
One of your fellow candidates has asked for CEWF’s views on the 4 point plan put forward by the Working Group on the TSW. Because your riding covers both areas on the Canal lakes as well as reservoirs we thought you might appreciate having our perspective on the Working Group Plan that you are being asked to endorse.
As you may already know CEWF is a group formed in 2007 to have input to the Panel on the Future of the Trent Severn Waterway on behalf of the reservoir and flow through lakes in Haliburton and Northern Peterborough counties. Our current membership includes 32 lake associations covering the 35 reservoirs and representing more than 90% of the total reservoir storage capacity in the Trent system. We represent the more than 30,000 waterfront property owners on the reservoirs and flow through lakes in Haliburton and Northern Peterborough counties. Our major goal is to see Integrated Water Management (IWM) across the entire Trent watershed.
We have been following the work of the Working Group on the TSW closely and have reviewed their 4 point plan. While we support their efforts to secure infrastructure funding and deal with operational issues on the Canal, we have been concerned that they are focused primarily on the operations of the Canal and on the economic impacts along the canal in the Kawartha Lakes area and areas to the south. The fact that their backgrounder to the 4 point plan does not mention the reservoirs which supply about 75% of the annual water flow at Lakefield is evidence of this problem.
The four point plan appears to refer to canal operations as if they are independent of overall water management issues. To some extent they are but as the Panel Report (2008) stressed it is foolish to separate the waterway from the watershed and so the lack of any reference to integrated water management basin wide leaves the 4 point plan lacking a vital piece of context
CEWF has serious issues with their 3rd point. CEWF’s major concern with their plan is their 3rd point requesting “support for a new governance model that devolves operations, control and financing of the TSW to those who live and work in the region.” CEWF believes, and as the Panel recommended in 2008, that water management must be undertaken at the watershed level and not just for the canal or at the local level. We strongly endorse the need for integrated water management across the whole Trent River basin.
We urge you not to support the third point of the Working Group’s proposal and instead commit to working towards integrated water management across the entire Trent basin. Further we have come to recognize that Parks Canada has a very good track record in water management across a very complex system and we believe we need to build on that capacity.
I would be happy to discuss these matters further if you have any questions that CEWF can assist you with.
Thank you for considering CEWF’s concerns.