The upgraded security in the United States post 911 including on Lake Erie has dramatically changed the ability of boaters to visit either the mainland in Canada or Pelee Island. In addition, well documented conflicts and stopping vessels on the Lake unnecessarily have been widely reported for years. It is virtually impossible to check in on a return trip from Pelee Island or the Canadian Coast. The immigration system is broken and logical minds and a bit of effort suggests it can be fixed.
The Lake Erie Heritage Foundation is focused on improving the ability of both Canadians and United States citizens to visit Pelee Island, the mainland or any of the Islands with ease. A updated system automated with modern technology and cooperation between both sides is needed.
This initiative was kicked off with a meeting Memorial Day Weekend with State Representative Randy Gardner and a group of concerned citizens from both the US and Canada. The discussion highlighted the unbelievable headaches and hassles of crossing the Lake and trying to use the system currently in place. Meetings will be scheduled with both state and federal representatives including Homeland Security as well as our Canadian Government Representatives, to institute an upgraded system that works. We can create both a smooth transit of goods and services as well as individuals between countries.
The only way for goods to enter the United States from Canada in this region is via Detroit or Buffalo. The closest distance between the United States and Canada from Ohio is direct from the Western Basin. One of the goals of the Lake Erie Heritage Foundation is to explore the opportunity of re-energizing the port cities in Northwest Ohio along with the southern Canadian cities to allow goods, services or people to transfer via the lake between the two closest points. One could envision over time significant volume of goods and services employing this route and cutting days or possibly in some instances weeks with a more direct route. At a minimum passengers between the two locations would be a great opportunity for both countries. This would open the southern tier port cities on the Canadian side as well as the Western Basin for easy transit.
The Lake Erie Heritage Foundation is actively engaged in working on these two projects and we will keep you updated with progress.