Councillor to enter algae motion

Chatham Daily News by Trevor Terfloth

Noting the impact on health and the economy, a South Kent councillor wants to see what the federal and provincial governments, as well as the municipality, can do to mitigate Lake Erie algal blooms.

The longstanding issue is prevalent throughout the lake, with Coun. Trevor Thompson saying that other jurisdictions face similar problems.

“This is an issue affecting absolutely everybody in Southern Ontario,” he said on Friday.

In recent months, Thompson said he’s been in touch with Environmental Defence Canada and Freshwater Future Canada.

“They were talking about trying to bring motions similar to this to councils across Southern Ontario,” he said, noting the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority also monitors the issue.

His motion, to be presented during Monday’s meeting, asks that “the Ontario and federal governments be requested to be leaders in the development and implementation of action plans that will protect drinking water and effectively address algal blooms and protect and restore the health of Lake Erie.”

Municipal administration would also be asked to develop a response in support of the plan, while outlining the concerns and ramifications before May 9.

The federal and provincial governments have released a draft action plan to reduce phosphorus and the growth of algae in Lake Erie.

However, Thompson said funding cuts in the United States to the Environmental Protection Agency are a concern.

“It all just came together and we thought this was the time to do it,” he said. “Algal blooms affect everybody from the PUC (Public Utilities Commission), to people who make their living on the water, to people who just spend time recreationally on the water.

“There isn’t any one sector or one industry that this doesn’t touch.”

(Photo: Chatham Daily News – East of Palmyra, Ontario 2011)