Twin Saults send a message to the White House
Published Wednesday, June 7, 2017 5:49PM EDT
The city councils of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario and Michigan are coming together to show a strong united front on a number of items.
In particular, the twin Saults are concerned about the Great Lakes and the shipping capacity of the Soo Locks.
With the White House showing little commitment to environmental issues, city officials on both sides of the border want to ensure funds stay in place to keep the Great Lakes healthy.
"As the stewards of the Great Lakes on both sides of the border I think it's important that that funding be kept in place,” said Matthew Shoemaker, a Sault Ste. Marie city councillor.
The Great Lakes are a hub for invasive species as well.
If funds for fighting the pesky intruders are reduced or pulled entirely, staff at the Invasive Species Centre said it will negatively impact the environment and the economy.
"If we weren't able to do so, these species can have huge impacts on the environment,” said David Nisbet, Invasive Species Centre science manager.
“They can impact our economy and our society."
The councils from the twin Saults are also working together to lobby for funding for improvements to the lock system on the Michigan side of the border.
Many of Sault Ontario’s major industries rely on shipments arriving on the Great Lakes, and the locks capacity is minimal at this point.
"They need a new lock,” said Shoemaker.
“They only have one lock that can handle some of the ships on the great lakes and last year, or two years ago, we saw that lock go down for a period of time, which affected our industry and we can't be relying on a single lock to get one of our shipments."
Shoemaker said the two sides have support from local and provincial business groups, as well as federal and state authorities from Michigan, as they continue to work for the betterment of the sister cities.