Four months after an international body approved a new plan for regulating Lake Ontario’s water level, property owners who had claimed the rules favoured muskrat lodges over lakeside homes are piling sandbags against just the kind of floodwaters they had feared.
But a joint U.S.-Canadian commission says its new rules aren’t to blame for the waves crashing over breakwalls and flooding hundreds of properties along the lake’s southern and eastern shores. It contends the lake is at its highest level in 24 years, roughly 20 inches above average, because of near-record spring rains.
“It’s the perfect storm, between the heavy spring rains and the new plan,” said Chris Tertinek, the Republican mayor of Sodus Point, a village of 1,200 people on Lake Ontario’s southern shore, 30 miles east of Rochester. “All the property owners are worried about property value. We’re worried the sewage system will flood and we’ll have to shut down the village.”
Republican politicians who had lobbied against the regulations known as Plan 2014 are now calling on President Donald Trump to roll back the rules, which were promoted by environmentalists and adopted by the International Joint Commission in December after 16 years of study and discussion.