Have you seen that Québec recently unveiled its 2018-2030 Water Strategy? This major plan will be rolled out in 3 phases of action involving 11 ministries, all supported by a budget of over $ 550 million.
As a water player positioned on the border between Ontario and Québec, Garde-Rivière des Outaouais took part in the public consultations in 2016. We are therefore pleased to see that many of our recommendations have been heard.
One of the main pillars of the Strategy is the creation of a Québec Water Council. This consultative body will consist of 40 members from different levels of government and groups working in the field of water. This initiative is consistent with our vision for a collaborative and integrated management of water and aquatic environments. That is why we asked Minister Melançon to ensure that Ottawa Riverkeeper has a seat on the Council.
We attach particular importance to interprovincial collaboration. It therefore worries us that the Strategy does not mention Ontario, the province with which Québec shares its border along 620 kilometers of river. We are also surprised that the Ontario-Québec Joint Committee on Water Management is not an explicit part of the Strategy. This is an important forum that brings together key stakeholders who must keep working on pressing issues.
The Outaouais region covers more than 30,000 km² and is inhabited by nearly 400,000 people. Residents going to public beaches in urban areas, boaters navigating along the shoreline, or followers of a myriad other water-related activities, all benefit from a healthy Ottawa River Watershed.
We remain convinced that by working together with creativity, determination, and respect, citizens and their elected representatives will be able to shape a healthy, prosperous, even exemplary, future for the beautiful Ottawa River.
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