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Great Lakes Article:

Seaway expansion bodes ill for Kingston,activist says

By Sean McGrady

Thursday, July 18, 2002 -
kingston Whig-Standard


Local News - Kingston would be hard hit by any expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway, an activist warns.
“Kingston would see none of the benefits of such a project,” said Mark Mattson, executive director of Lake Ontario Keeper, an environmental group.
“We’d like to nip it in the bud. It would be a real setback if this went through.”
A study done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers called the Navigation System Review recommends Canada and the U.S. spend billions of dollars to expand locks and harbours and widen and deepen the Seaway to allow larger vessels on the Great Lakes.
Widening or deepening the St. Lawrence risks dredging polluted sediments, says Krystyn Tully, programs director for Lake Ontario Keeper, seriously undermining the Canadian government’s commitment to clean up the Great Lakes.
The engineers even looked at blowing up parts of islands in the Thousand Islands to allow larger ships to pass through, she added.
Mattson said Kingston could see higher wake levels, greater damage to shoreline properties and a higher risk of accidents on the water.
Lake Ontario Keeper and several other environmental groups are holding an open forum tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Grad Club to study the Navigation System Review.
The U.S. Army is asking the Canadian government for $10 million for a seven-year feasibility study to follow their navigation study. The proposal is currently in front of Transport Canada.
“Our biggest objection is that the Corps wants the Canadian government to buy into a $10-million project to essentially turn the Great Lakes into a bigger highway,” Mattson said.
“We’d like to see the Great Lakes protected and enhanced. This seems to be going in the opposite direction.”
The forum will address concerns about the Navigation System Review, which Tully says is deeply flawed.
“It’s a terrible study. The economic analysis doesn’t make sense,” Tully said.
“Why should [the Canadian government] invest $10 million in a study that won’t have any credibility?”
Tully said the public forum is important because little is known about the issue.
“This is really our first opportunity to discuss the issue,” he said. “We’d like to make all the policy-oriented studies understandable for those who will feel the actual impact.”
Mattson says if the government invests $10 million in the feasibility study, it’s likely that the Corps’ plans for the waterways would be implemented in some form.
“The feasibility study isn’t going to find out why they shouldn’t go ahead with the project. It will focus on why to do it.”

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