Halton Region works with Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to mobilize over Great Lakes restoration and climate change

Halton Region works with Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to mobilize over Great Lakes restoration and climate change

Release Date: Jun 15, 2017

June 15, 2017 - Members of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, including Halton Region, met at their annual meeting and conference in Montreal this past week to discuss a number of issues including Great Lake restoration, funding strategies and climate change initiatives.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a coalition of 130 cities from the United States and Canada representing over 17 million people who work together for the long-term protection and restoration of the resource. The members work closely with state, provincial, federal, tribal, first nation, metis, industry and non-government representatives from across the basin to protect, restore and sustain one of the largest freshwater resources in the world.

The US federal government recently indicated that they would be cutting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding for 2018 and beyond. Members of the Cities Initiative are requesting the Canadian federal government to develop a more comprehensive strategy and framework for Great Lakes and St. Lawrence funding. The members of the Cities Initiative will continue working with the Government of Canada to ensure their successful restoration and protection for years to come. Following the United States' departure from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, members also reemphasized the increased role of cities in the fight against climate change.

"Protecting and enhancing Halton's natural environment is a high priority for Regional Council," commented Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. "48 million people depend on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence for their drinking water, and the loss of US federal funding is concerning because it would affect us all."

The Initiative members also resolved to seek UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve status for the entire Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin, a measure intended to draw international attention to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River as a unique ecosystem of worldwide significance. The resolution encourages the US and Canadian federal governments to pursue creating one of the largest UNESCO Biosphere Reserves on the planet.

"I am pleased to be able to represent Halton Region at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative conference," said Halton Regional Councillor Sean O'Meara. "We were able to put a plan and strategy in place to further advocate to the federal governments of both Canada and the US for enhanced and predictable funding for our Great Lakes. I look forward to continuing with this work."

The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 550,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children's and seniors' services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region's website at halton.ca.

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Media Contact:
Robert Hunter
Communications Specialist
Halton Region
905-825-6000, ext. 7064
Robert.Hunter@halton.ca