The MP for Kenora says the Experimental Lakes research centre in his riding has served its purpose and it's time to move on.

Greg Rickford said there was a time when he bragged about the freshwater research being done there — but that time has passed.

"Our government feels, from a departmental perspective, the department of fisheries and oceans has other priorities that are more focused on smaller-scale research for more specific things," Rickford said.

He added the government is now looking for universities willing to take over the research.


Lake 239, one of 58 lakes that make up the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, is seen in a webcam photo taken May 17. Funding for the research facility will end next March, the federal government has announced. (

That sentiment was echoed by John Gunn, the director of the Vale Living with Lakes Centre at Laurentian University in Sudbury.

"The federal government is expecting universities to step up," Gunn said. "It's a very different kind of commitment to do the work that Experimental Lakes has done and continues to do. I'm not sure how we're going to fill that void."

The Sudbury based centre did research on a variety of subjects, including acid rain and mercury contamination. Sudbury has 330 freshwater lakes within its city limits.

Gunn said the organization he works for is provincially funded and won't be affected by the cutbacks.

Rickford noted the provincial government may also play a role in the future of the Kenora-area research centre.

"We are making every effort to transfer the facilities to transfer the ownership of the facility to the university or universities that have participated in the research or ones that have participated in that kind of up-take," he said.