A strong sense of community spirit will be a key element for Lake Erie residents facing the challenges of high water and erosion, according to a consultant and Geoscientist Pete Zuzek who is leading the current Shoreline Erosion Study.

Nearly 200 local residents attended two days of sessions that concluded in Erieau today as part of the study examining the impact of current and future conditions on shoreline from Wheatley to Clear Creek

“What we’ve learned over the past two days is that we have a committed community of residents, landowners, the municipality and conservation authority who are all working together to find solutions,” he said. “It is imperative that we speak with one voice when we approach senior levels of government.”

Zuzek said during the meetings residents were asked to provide input into the issue. “The idea that a consultant can come into a situation and develop a solution without input from the local community simply doesn’t work. I’ve learned a lot during these sessions from the community, we will build on the community ideas, and I’m confident that we will develop a range of viable options for the long-term.”

Chatham-Kent General Manager of Infrastrructure and Engineering Services Thomas Kelly said compiling a solid database of scientific knowledge with local support is key.

“We will need funding from senior government for whatever approach we take,” he said. “We can’t get that unless we have done our homework and present a fact-based comprehensive plan.”

Through the summer, the group plans to liaise further with Chatham-Kent Council and to meet with various ministries and agencies from senior levels of government. The group will then provide feedback on draft management options to the community in September. Study recommendations will be made in December and the final report is due in March of next year.

Kelly urged citizens to continue to monitor https://www.letstalkchatham-kent.ca/chatham-kent-lake-erie-shoreline-study for the most current information.

Zuzek said residents should remain vigilant about their property and monitor potential risks. They should stay involved and support the development of solutions. “We have some major challenges and tough decisions ahead of us but we must continue to work together to build a majority consensus for the best possible long-term solutions.”