Laurentian University researcher uneasy about fate of Living with Lakes Centre property
Prof. John Gunn says he's concerned creditors may end up selling the lakeshore property
The director of the Vale Living with Lakes Centre at Laurentian University says he's worried about the future of the iconic property.
In the wake of the restructuring of the university and the cuts to programs and staff, John Gunn is uneasy about how things will unfold around of the research institute, which was created for the protection of the aquatic ecosystem and is located on the shores of Ramsey Lake in Sudbury.
Gunn says he's concerned that Laurentian will see the property as something to sell to help resolve its financial issues.
"The Living with Lakes Center was a community investment, the donors and the number of parties and investment efforts that people made themselves to it," he said.
"It's an iconic property on the lakeshore. I am concerned that the creditors would turn their attention to selling lakeshore property as well."
He says they're determined not to let that happen.
"But there's not much we can do if we lose that financial battle."
The centre has launched a campaign to fund-raise for graduate students looking to complete their research, in and effort to support the students who are still there.
Gunn notes the situation has been especially difficult for international students.
"Students that came here expecting a stable university — and brought families from international locations — were badly injured by what happened at Laurentian. We need those international students and talented graduate students to come here again."
Graduate students have to do the bulk of their research in the summer so it's hard for them to get jobs to help them with living expenses, he adds.
Work is continuing to rally the community around the centre that, according to its website, is founded on a "strong culture of collaboration and science communication, partnerships among scientists, universities, government agencies, and industries."
"I need a few more phone calls from other community leaders to say, 'what can we do together like we did in the 80s to rebuild our research and science culture of excellence here,'" Gunn said.
"But it was forgotten by this economic accounting process. I never understood why we couldn't have managed the debt for a period. You know, the province of Ontario has a debt ... Canada has a debt. Why did we take such brutal responses to our particular debt, rather than working it through together?"
With files from Jan Lakes and Markus Schwabe