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Sault Ste. Marie officially applies to be home of the Canada Water Agency

This past week, representatives from the Sault officially applied to become the site of the Canada Water Agency.

Mayor Matthew Shoemaker said he is confident the city's bid will be successful.

“We’re located right here in the middle of the Great Lakes on the gathering place between Lake Huron and Lake Superior and a short drive or short boat ride away in some cases from Lake Michigan,” Shoemaker said.

“When you think water in Canada, freshwater specifically, Sault Ste. Marie is at the heart of it all.”

A task force was created to help the city’s efforts. Elaine Ho-Tassone, Nordik Institute’s director of operations, is on that team.

Ho-Tassone said having a northern Ontario point of view could prove beneficial for discussions on water throughout the province and country.

“A lot of the issues start or are reflected upstream, we just don’t look at it that way,” she said.

“We look at ‘well what’s happening down in the bottom and how do we address that?’ Without thinking about what’s happening further up and what are the policies and practices and cultures that go into that without recognizing that.”

It’s not known at this point if the federal government will choose one, or multiple locations for the Canada Water Agency.

Ward 5 Coun. Corey Gardi said even if a regional approach is taken, being selected would still be a win for the city.

"It would mean the Sault capitalizing on opportunities provided by a changing climate and the importance of studying its impacts," Gardi said.

Shoemaker said adding another government agency makes sense based on those already located in the Sault.

“We’ve got world-class research facilities here already,” he said.

“We’ve got the Invasive Species Centre. We’ve got the Great Lakes Forest Research Centre and the Ontario Forest Research Institute. Across the river at Lake State we’ve got the American Freshwater Research Centre.”

Current partnerships could also prove helpful, said Ho-Tassone, whether it be with American agencies or Indigenous groups.

“Being able to bring together many First Nations and indigenous communities, which we have that ability, is something that can become a legacy project,” she said.

“A legacy impact for this agency, for the government, for just the way we have our relationships with each other moving forward.”

A decision on locations for the Agency is reportedly imminent. Ho-Tassone said it could happen before the end of the year. Top Stories

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