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Aquahackers focus on Ottawa River Ottawa Riverkeeper, based in the Ottawa region. The United Counties of Prescott- Russell council (UCPR) received a delegation from the two groups, outlining the confe- rence aims and also encouraging the UCPR to designate its own delegation to attend the conference. Part of the mandate of the Aquahacking conference involves promoting the use of information technology to foster greater public awareness of the river and also help network possible solutions to some of the environmental and user-conflict problems plaguing the river.

water their livestock. Brown stated that interfering with far- mers’ legitimate efforts to raise their livestock or crops is not on the Aquahacking agenda. She noted there already exist government regulations to prevent misuse of the river through dumping or shore erosion due to poor land management. «It (conference) is not about creating extra rules,» she said, adding that event organizers have confirmation that agricultureministry officials are interested in taking part in the conference to make sure the agriculture sector’s viewpoint is heard. «It is something that definitely needs to be addressed, to find solutions to problems that are not on the backs of the farmers.» Mayor Jeanne Charlebois of Hawkesbury suggested that the UCPR could help organize a public information and feedback session in advance of the conference, to give resi- dents a chance to report their concerns and interests in the Ottawa River, so that infor- mation could become part of the conference discussion forums.


The terms “hacker” and “hacking” conjure up popular images of lone wolf cyber-sa- murai digging into computer networks and leaving behind Trojanworms, viruses and other assorted malware for either their own amusement or as a planned attack on corporate or government databases, or as part criminal efforts at identifying theft or fraud. A coalition of regional environ- mental groups wants to take those images, spin themaround, and then pour out a new image where cyber technology becomes a promoter for the protection of the Ottawa River system. Aquahacking 2015 is a three-day confe- rence in Gatineau, at the end of May, aimed at bringing together representatives fromen- vironment groups, the federal government, the provincial governments for Ontario and Québec, along with local government groups on both sides of the Ottawa River, and any and all interested members of the public. The focus of the conference is to both highlight the value of the Ottawa River sys- tem and look at ways that modern techno- logy, including cyber technology, can help to both protect the existing river systemand enhance it for future users. The conference is a joint effort between la Fondation de Gaspé Beaubien, the main sponsor based in Québec, and its partner,

«It’s a very complicated jurisdiction in the Ottawa River watershed,» saidMeredith Brown, Ottawa Riverkeeper representative, noting that while the Ottawa River falls under the environmental jurisdictions of both the federal and the two provincial governments, there is no single regional authority desi- gnated for the watershed itself as is true for some of its tributary system like the South Nation River. One of the goals of the Aquahacking sum- mit, Brown said, like past regional confe- rences concerning the Ottawa River, is to lay the groundwork for a complete and proper integrated management plan for the river system. «We have an incredible opportunity here,» she said, adding that the Ottawa River has international status as a world-class river system, and the conference wants to continue to build on that. Previous regional conferences about the Ottawa River had as part of their mandate, fostering greater involvement from local municipalities and First Nations groups on both sides of the river in management and monitoring projects intended to protect the watershed system.

«Here is an opportunity for you to put forth what your priorities are for the river,» Brown told UCPR council members. «We really would like to hear fromyou. We would like to know what your issues are.» «It is definitely a gap in our conservation authorities,» saidMayor François St-Amour ofThe NationMunicipality, «that the Ottawa River was never included.» Several mayors on UCPR council also wondered whether any of the conclusions or results of the conferencemight affect tra- ditional agricultural use of the Ottawa River. Mayor Conrad Lamadeleine of Casselman asked whether the conference could result in regulations or programs that would limit local farmers from being able to use the Ottawa River to help irrigate their crops or

Rural infrastructure funding approvals Three communities in the Five Counties region will each receive funding aid from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) for one of their infrastructure improvement projects. The City of Clarence-Rockland will receive up to $1.26 million in OCIF funding for replacement work on the Bearbrook Bridge on Bouvier Road. Hawkesbury is approved for OCIF funds up to a limit of $1,793,396 for replacement work on water, sanitary sewer, and stormwater mains to help reduce the chance of sewer overflows. The City of Cornwall will receive up to $2 million in OCIF funding for improvements on its water distribution network. – Gregg Chamberlain

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