By Elizabeth Pray
On Thursday evening, over 200 residents of Wayne County attended a public meeting to discuss the issue of water levels in Lake Ontario.
The meeting, held in the Williamson High School auditorium, featured a presentation of a new proposal, called “Plan BV7.” It aims to replace the current plan from the 1950’s. If passed, BV7 could have a major impact on the lake levels in Lake Ontario, affecting the shoreline of Western New York.
The plan is being implemented by the International Joint Commission or IJC, an organization created to maintain the water boundaries between the United States and Canada.
Frank Bevacqua, director of public affairs for IJC, gave a presentation at the meeting.
Bevacqua cited several reasons the IJC created the new proposal. These included: the outdated method of the old plan and more substantially, the effect on the environment.
In a slide show presentation accompanying his speech, graphs and bullet points outlined the important aspects of the plan. The last slide contained a chart estimating how separate aspects, such as tourism, property values and erosion could affect the residents and towns.
Booklets and flyers were also handed out to the attendees containing more detailed information.
Afterward, several speakers, including government officials, voiced both supportive and opposing opinions.
Both Deborah Essley and Joan Grela, representing Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle and State Senator Mike Nozzolio, read letters of strong opposition toward the proposal. The following officials also expressed their opposition: Jim Hoffman, Chairman of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors/Williamson Town Supervisor; Kim Park, Wolcott Town Supervisor; Laurie Crane, Huron Town Supervisor; Mike Sullivan, Mayor of Sodus Point; Steve LeRoy, Sodus Town Supervisor; and Assemblyman Bob Oaks.
Issues of oppositions from the public ranged from unbalanced research in the proposal, concerns of erosion because of increased lake levels. The biggest issue highlighted was the absence of compensation for landowners and towns in BV7 if damage occurs.
Although details of Plan BV7 were released by the IJC, the actual future of the plan will be determined after a review of both public and governmental input. A deadline has not yet been set.
In an Open letter to Wayne County residents, Supervisors Kelsch of Ontario, Hoffman of Williamson, LeRoy of Sodus, Crane of Huron and Park of Wolcott and Mayor Sullivan of the Village of Sodus Point stated: “As the elected representatives of Wayne County’s lakeshore and waterfront communities, we have devoted considerable time to prevent adoption of this plan. Until all concerns are addressed, sufficient information is provided regarding the economic impact of BV7 and the interest of all property owners is fully protected we will continue to pursue blocking adoption of this plan.”
More information about the proposal is available online at www.ijc.org/loslr.