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The Weather Network
Jul. 20, 2019 | Saturday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter to the editor: Sailing club has some concerns
File photo.

SUBMITTED BY JOHN THOMPSON, NOTL SAILING CLUB.
OPINION

Your recent article regarding high water levels at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club starts off with an accurate headline which stated that the high water levels were causing us a “hassle.” 

This is certainly the case. The accuracy of your reporting diminishes thereafter, however, as you identified your sole sources as being sailing club members, which they are not.

Your non-member sources characterized our dust control measure as being “oil.” 

We use an environmentally friendly dust suppressant that is in wide use throughout Canada, including many environmentally sensitive areas.

They then went on to say that the cause of the high water was because of a change in how they “let the water out.” 

In that, your sources may have been referring to Plan2014, an environmental initiative agreed to by Canada and the United States in 2014, and implemented on Jan. 1, 2017, which sought to let the water level of Lake Ontario fluctuate more naturally in order to promote the health of the Lake Ontario wetlands.

Identifying Plan2014 as causative for the flooding of 2017 and this year is the subject of debate. Perhaps there is a story for you there.

Moreover, while the high water does constitute a “hassle,” it is little more than that.

We learned a great deal from the high waters of 2017 and were far better prepared this time around. We constructed a second layer of docks in 2017, which were subsequently stored for just such a need. They have been redeployed in order to protect the members’ boats and are performing well in that capacity. Yard operations, i.e. boat launchings, are continuing, albeit at a slower pace than normal.

Our Learn to Sail programs are projected to begin on schedule, though at a different location on the property than usual. Our racing program has not missed a single date as a result of high water. Only one club social event has been rescheduled (not cancelled) due to the water level. All the others have been or will be held on schedule.

It is true that two organized club cruises have been cancelled. But this has as much to do with conditions at the destination yacht clubs as it does with our own. Is it more challenging to operate a boat in such conditions? The answer is obvious. Of course it is.

But on the whole, Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club members are experienced sailors who understand the precautions that must be taken to safely negotiate the high water in a safe and responsible manner.

Yacht clubs and indeed all riparians on Lake Ontario have been impacted to some degree by these water levels. Our sailing club is certainly no exception.

But let’s keep it in perspective. A “hassle” is not a catastrophe.

John Thompson

Vice commodore operations

NOTL Sailing Club

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