The fight to save the Experimental Lakes Area in Northernwestern Ontario has received thousands of signatures of support from regular Canadians.
The Coalition to Save ELA said on Tuesday that in the 17 days since the launch of their parliamentary petition, they have collected 11,514 signatures from across the country, from B.C. to Newfoundland and as far north as Nunavut.
“We are so encouraged by the groundswell of support from concerned citizens across the country to save the ELA,” said Diane Orihel, a leader of the Coalition to Save ELA, in a press release.
“Canadians are sending a very clear message to their government about how and where they want their tax dollars spent to support the ELA — a message government will be hard pressed to ignore.”
Also on Tuesday, Mac Harb, a Liberal senator from Ontario, joined the Coalition to Save ELA.
On May 17, staff at ELA received layoff notices from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, reportedly due to federal budget cuts.
Located in Northwestern Ontario, the ELA, which has a $2-million operating budget, is made up of 58 small lakes and their watersheds that have been set aside for research since 1968.
The ELA has provided advice to policy-makers and industry on such issues as: harmful algal blooms, acid rain, the impact of hormones in sewage effluent on fish health, evidence that flame retardants degrade into banned toxic chemicals and measures to lower mercury contamination in fish.
It is operated out of the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg.