It is also a personal issue for me in that my family has used the lake on a number of occasions to canoe, swim and have parties in the boathouse.
With that said, I support the position of the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia who made it clear that free-flowing fish passage is required at the mouth of the Avon River.
Of the three options presented by the provincial government that appear to be on the table, I would support what is called the “brackish option" which includes: keeping the fishways open almost all of the time, maintaining the level or the reservoir, allowing a tide of about half a metre, and permitting some sediment and salinity into the reservoir by allowing the gates to control tidal flows.
My support for this option and the position of Mi'kmaq is premised on two fundamental reasons.
First, the “lake” is in fact a human-made reservoir, and we must return to respecting our environment the way Mother Nature intended. Free tidal flow is the best environmental option with a brackish reservoir that rises and falls with the (world famous) tides and would create a more natural or dynamic ecosystem.
I understand the stance of those who want to maintain a freshwater lake for recreational reasons; however, I strongly believe we all must make sacrifices given the environmental destruction we have wrought and the climate change crisis we are engulfed in.
Having visited and enjoyed the lake on numerous occasions myself I feel this is a personal sacrifice I am willing to make.
Second, I strongly believe it is time we listen to Indigenous voices and their preferences. The Mi'kmaq culture and community understand and are passionate about the value of preserving nature. I have had the honour and pleasure of meeting the fish and water protectors at the Treaty Truckhouse # 2 in Windsor, and I also strongly support their right to control the gates and fish passage.
I also understand the concerns of those who feel the loss of a freshwater lake will have detrimental economic consequences for Windsor.
One of my highest priorities as an MP would help the community move past any negative consequences stemming from federal and provincial governments’ decision regarding the lake and the fish passageway. This would include helping to spearhead an ambitious economic development plan that would dwarf the economic, recreational, and aesthetic contributions made by lake Pisiquid.
For me, this would entail making a Windsor area a tourist mecca for the province, Atlantic Canada and beyond. Given the Ski Martock itself is threatened by the climate crisis (rising temperatures and shorten winters), I envision Martock as a summer tourist destination that would rival Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick (including, for example, a theme park, amphitheater, other tourist and recreational amenities, camping, hiking, etc.) .
- Steve Schneider