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Mayor Sendzik and the City of St. Catharines leading at Great Lakes Conference

Mayor Sendzik and the City of St. Catharines leading at Great Lakes Conference

Mayor Sendzik and the City of St. Catharines leading at Great Lakes Conference

June 7, 2019

Mayor Sendzik and the City of St. Catharines leading at Great Lakes Conference

Great Lakes Award presentation to Mark Green

The Barb Hodgins Award presented to Mark Green, City of St. Catharines Manager of Environmental Services

With rising water levels and climate change on the minds of many, an international gathering of mayors and cities was held this week at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative annual conference in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik and City staff attended the 16th annual conference from June 5 to 7. Mayors from Canadian and U.S. cities discussed issues impacting the lakes, pressed for action on invasive species and proposed solutions for pollution and microplastics.

“Our economy, industry and our communities are all tied to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence watershed so it is critical that we work together,” said Mayor Sendzik. “The conference is an opportunity for mayors to reach across our borders and take leadership at the local, national and international level to ensure our lakes are healthy and sustainable into the future.”

Climate change, rising water levels discussed

The Mayors discussed climate change and rising water levels, algae blooms and nutrients in the lakes, protecting coastlines and sustainable economic development. The Mayors signed the Mayor’s Declaration to Stop Asian Carp and called on the US Congress to take action to protect the Great Lakes from the invasive species. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Mayor Sendzik commented on the risk to the Great Lakes.

Asian Carp

“The risk posed by Asian Carp is real and the potential for damage is great on both sides of the border. This why we are asking in the declaration signed by our members, to double the efforts currently being made to combat Asian Carp.”

Mayor Sendzik also sponsored a resolution to reduce plastic waste in the Great Lakes with the Cities Initiative supporting municipalities in this work. While many cities are focused on reducing their use of single-use plastics, microplastics remain a major source of pollution in lakes and watersheds. The resolution calls on other levels of government, industry and stakeholders to encourage a circular economy and reduce the use of single-use plastics and microplastics. A copy of all of the resolutions can be found at https://glslcities.org/sheboygan

Congratulations Mark Green!

Also at the conference, the City’s Manager of Environmental Services, Mark Green was honoured for his contributions to the Cities Initiative as the recipient of the 2019 Barb Hodgins Award. The award recognizes leadership in water-related issues.

“At the City of St. Catharines we are taking action and we know we can do more to reduce our environmental footprint. I am proud to be a part of an organization and a community that understands the importance of sustainability and environmental protection,” said Mr. Green.

The Great Lakes basin is one of the biggest economic engines in the world estimated at almost $4 trillion. The Great Lakes also supplies 20 per cent of the world’s freshwater. The Great Lakes and St.Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of over 80 US and Canadian Mayors and municipal leaders, representing over 17 million people, working to protect and restore the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence.