Ontario government pledges to save the Experimental Lakes Area

There’s hope for northern Ontario’s Experimental Lakes Area yet.

Today, Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne announced that the province is working alongside the federal government, the government of Manitoba, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to keep the facility open in 2013 and ensure long-term operations.

This comes as welcome news to members of The Coalition to Save ELA, who have been working to prevent the closure of this world-renowned freshwater research facility for nearly a year. Since the announcement to shut down the ELA came last spring, Cottage Life and sister publication Outdoor Canada have been vocal supporters of the facility. In his recent column in Outdoor Canada, Dr. David Schindler, U. of Alberta professor, member of the Coalition, and founder of the ELA explains exactly why it’s so important. In short: “The world-renowned freshwater research facility in northwestern Ontario has long been at the forefront of studying the effects of pollution on freshwater ecosystems—and saving countless fisheries in the process.”

The new premier’s commitment to provide support is a crucial step forward, however, there are still obstacles in the way of the ELA’s future success.
“Today’s announcement is a big step forward, but the battle for ELA is far from over,” Diane Orihel, founder of the Coalition, said in a recent release. “Scientists have stepped up to the plate by finding a new operator for ELA, IISD has stepped up to the plate as the potential new operator, and now Ontario has stepped up to the plate by committing to work with IISD on a new agreement. So, now the pressure is really on the Federal Government to do their part.”