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March 11, 2005
Canadian Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River mayors chart a course for the care of the world’s largest freshwater system
  
At a meeting on March 11, 2005 in Toronto, mayors and heads of council from the
Canadian Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region agreed on the following
principles:

  • The mayors and heads of council commit to continue to work together to
    protect, restore and enhance the unique ecosystem of the Great Lakes and the
    St. Lawrence River.

  • Our work will focus on issues with environmental and economic
    implications for municipalities including: water quality, waste water and storm
    water treatment, beach closures, algae blooms, water diversion, invasive
    species, shoreline restoration, water levels and waterfront redevelopment. Our
    vision has two main aspects: First, to enable people to safely drink the water,
    swim at the beaches, and eat the fish of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence
    River. Second to foster sustainable development of tourism, shipping and other
    water-based economic activity.

  • We recognize that local governments are leaders and delivery agents who
    have a responsibility to work in partnership with federal, provincial, and
    state governments to restore and protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence
    River. We agree to use a variety of strategies to this end including:

    • Leadership and Action: Because municipal governments are closest
      to water quality issues and solutions, mayors must lead the way in designing
      and implementing Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River initiatives.
    • Education: Mayors are committed to educating the public, other
      elected officials, the business community, and others on the challenges and
      opportunities of maintaining the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River
      ecosystem.
    • Co-operation: The mayors will encourage other local, regional,
      and national governments, conservation authorities and first nations groups, as
      well as business, agricultural and environmental organizations to work in
      partnership on Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River initiatives.
    • Best Practices: Mayors will build on existing regional and
      binational networks to share best practices and policies for Great Lakes and
      the St. Lawrence River preservation and remediation.


  • We mayors and heads of council support merging the International
    Association of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Mayors and the Great Lakes Cities
    Initiative into a single binational organization. A single organization will
    expedite the implementation of environmental measures and the promotion of
    sustainable economic development and tourism on the Great Lakes and the St.
    Lawrence River more effectively. It will also streamline the process for
    municipal governments to work in partnership with other Great Lakes and the St.
    Lawrence River stakeholders.

  • We mayors and heads of council propose the establishment of Canadian
    offices of the binational Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River Cities
    Secretariat in Toronto and Québec City to support the work of the mayors and
    complement the American office in Chicago.

  • We acknowledge the federal government’s commitment to the Great Lakes
    programs in the federal budget, and we urge them to build on this commitment
    and extend it to the St Lawrence River. We propose that the federal and
    provincial governments include mayors directly with their own seat at the table
    in the design and implementation of policies concerning the Great Lakes and the
    St. Lawrence River.

  • We express strong concern about the introduction of a blending by-pass
    policy under consideration by the U.S. EPA, which would allow blending
    untreated sewage with treated sewage and releasing it into the sensitive
    ecological system of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and connecting waterways.
    This type of policy would contravene the focus of both the International
    Association of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Mayors and the Great Lakes Cities
    Initiative. Our goal is to collaboratively work toward increasing ecological
    integrity, health and economic stability of our water resources.

  • We further express our serious concern about the water resources of the
    Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin and have particular concerns with
    respect to water diversions and withdrawals and require a seat at the table
    where decisions on Annex 2001 are being made.

    Background

    Media contact:
    Patchen Barss
    Office of Mayor David Miller
    416-338-7134



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