June 10, 2008
June 2009 Centennial Celebration of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and the Creation of the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States to be held in Niagara Falls
At a Rotary Luncheon today in Niagara Falls Ontario, the International Joint Commission (IJC) of Canada and the United States and the Niagara 10 Leaders announced preliminary details for plans for the Niagara Falls region to be the backdrop to an historic event to be held on Saturday, June 13, 2009 to mark and celebrate the centennial of the Boundary Waters Treaty which created the IJC.
The IJC will invite current and former Presidents, Prime Ministers, Secretaries of State and Foreign Ministers, as well as all former IJC Commissioners to a ceremony to recognize the the Boundary Waters Treaty, and its 100 years of providing successful dispute resolution on issues concerning boundary waters between Canada and the United States. There are plans being developed for bi-national music and cultural programs, environmental and historic displays, and hands on activities for children in conjunction with the formal ceremony.
"It is significant that we are holding this event in Niagara Falls as it is one of only two geographic regions referred in the Treaty, which covers boundary waters from the Atlantic to the Pacific" said Herb Gray, Canadian Chair of the IJC.
The Celebration will be organized by the BWT100 Committee comprised initially of the Niagara 10 Leaders representing the ten local jurisdictions bordering the international Niagara River boundary (the Cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls New York and Niagara Falls Ontario, the Towns of Fort Erie and Niagara on the Lake, the Villages of Lewiston and Youngstown, Erie County, Niagara County and the Regional Municipality of Niagara), the IJC, the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto, the Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo, the Niagara Parks Commission, New York State Parks and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. The Committee welcomes further community involvement.
The Committee held two organizing meetings on May 30 and June 3, 2008 and IJC Commissioners met June 10th in Niagara with representative Mayors of the Niagara Ten to began the initial planning for the 2009 event.
"In addition to its historical connection to the Treaty, Niagara Falls is one of those places where the boundary waters bring people together, which is exemplifies in the way that all the Niagara Mayors meet and try to work as a region." said Irene Brooks, U.S. Chair of the IJC.
"The excitement for the Boundary Waters Treaty Centennial is building. We look forward to celebrating our partnership and affirming our joint responsibility of the waters with our friends throughout the Bi-National Region." said Mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Ted Salci, representing the Niagara 10.
"Niagara is a place that is defined by its shared waters, so it is truly special that the Boundary Waters Treaty Centennial, a celebration of 100 years of successfully protecting North America's shared water resources will be here. I would also like to congratulate the IJC for its ongoing contributions to the health of Niagara's inhabitants and ecosystems." Adds Paul Dyster, Mayor of Niagara Falls, New York
The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 created the independent IJC to prevent and resolve boundary waters disputes between Canada and the United States. The IJC also has a permanent reference under the 1972 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to help the two national governments restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of those waters. The IJC makes decisions on applications for projects such as dams in boundary waters and regulates the operations of many of those projects.