The City of Sault Ste. Marie is developing a proposal that demonstrates it is an ideal location for a Canada Water Agency. The creation of a Canada Water Agency was mandated to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change after the last Federal election, and a location for the Agency is yet to be determined.
Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone, Postdoctoral Fellow and Part-time Faculty at Algoma University, has been facilitating community discussions for Sault Ste. Marie’s Canada Water Agency Task Force.
The goal of these discussions is to understand how community members feel about pursuing a Canada Water Agency in the Sault, as well as to understand their vision for a water-secure Algoma District moving forward. Diverse perspectives have already been shared by Algoma District residents and organizations, most of which suggest a Canada Water Agency could present enormous opportunities for progress in water management and Indigenous reconciliation at the local and national levels if implemented strategically and in a good way. Dr. Ho-Tassone commends those who have already participated in the public discussions for their enthusiasm and genuine care of our local waters.
“Many of our community members are really in tune with the social, economic, and environmental issues that are relevant to freshwater, and how they all connect,” she says, “but we have also seen there are opportunities to engage further, as different peoples across our region have such different experiences with water, which results in different understandings about how water-secure our region really is.” From ageing infrastructure (or lack thereof) to the effects of climate change on rural wells and agriculture, the risks to our most fundamental resource are only increasing as time goes on.
Dr. Ho-Tassone is also the Project Coordinator for the Lake Huron Collaborative – a newly formed partnership of organizations that strives to coordinate and collaborate on freshwater projects across Lake Huron’s North Channel. The Collaborative is partnered with the City of Sault Ste. Marie on the Canada Water Agency initiative.
“We’ve been so lucky to have Elaine leading the community discussions. She is a thoughtful facilitator and it is spurring very deep discussions on water security in the Algoma Region and Canada“ says Kathleen Heymans, Manager of Business Development with the City of Sault Ste. Marie.
Canada Water Agency community discussions will continue until mid-September. Some of the upcoming discussions are as follows:
- September 1, from 1 pm to 3 pm: online discussion for Indigenous persons
- September 11, from 11 am to 1 pm: online general discussion for all persons and organizations in the Algoma District
- September 14, from 3 pm to 5 pm: in-person general discussion at the Roberta Bondar Pavillion for all persons and organizations in the Algoma District (registration required – limited to 50 participants)