‘New normal’ unacceptable for flooded property owners

With Lake Ontario now at historic high water levels, many property owners along the shoreline are dissatisfied with the government’s response to the flooding.

To the editor,

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo states that the water levels of Lake Ontario is the “new normal,” I am standing in 2 feet of water in the front yard of my property that is located on Lake Ontario.  

The  “new normal” has taken on a whole new meaning for me and my fellow lake property owners and local businesses.  

Governor Cuomo is correct, this is the (new) as in “not existing before, made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time,” (normal), “(not) conforming to a standard,  usual, typical, or expected.”  

What I take away from this is statement or definition of the NEW NORMAL is that this situation has not existed before but was expected.    

We, as property owners and local businesses, are facing something that could and should have been addressed back in 2017 when we set a record for lake levels.  This was after 2016 lake levels were lower than the long term annual average on Lake Ontario.

I am a property owner and I am at a loss (double meaning for LOSS). I have used the sand bags that are now empty, scattered, and/or floating in the water.   Neighbors have placed riprap, at 2 ton per cubic yard, in front of their homes, just to have the high waters and waves displace them.   

Properties on Lake Ontario are being washed away much faster than ever predicted.  Westerly winds with the combination of the high water levels are decimating our shorelines.  Erosion of land, seawalls and homes are being placed in danger, being damaged or destroyed by what our hovernor calls the “new normal”!!!  I find this unacceptable.  Lake Ontario’s shoreline is in need of help.   

State park beaches are closing, restaurants, and local marinas are unable to open, and no wake zones are being enforced in all bays on Lake Ontario.   The new normal is not just affecting homeowners, its effects will be felt by the economy as well, an economy that is already struggling.     

Thomas Bertam Lance, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in Jimmy Carter’s 1977 administration once said,  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That is the trouble with the government; Fixing things that aren’t broken and not fixing things that are broken.”   The means for regulating the water levels of our Great Lakes is broken; the IJC and the governor’s office should fix what is broken in reference to what is causing the water levels to rise so drastically, while still taking into account that climate change may be one of the factors.  BUT, it appears evident that much more is needed to be factored in when looking for a solution to what is happening to our lakeshore homes and businesses.      

Respectfully submitted,

Shawn Caroccio


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