PM Stephen Harper and James Bezan, MP speak with the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium.
Credits: REUTERS/Fred Greenslade
GIMLI, Man. -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Gimli on Thursday to announce funding for research related to Lake Winnipeg.
As part of the second phase of the Lake Winnipeg Initiative agreement with the Manitoba government, the feds are contributing nearly $18 million to the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium.
The consortium will work to reduce algal blooms, ensure fewer beach closings, keep the fishery sustainable, provide a clean lake for recreation and restore the ecological integrity of the lake.
The funding includes $12.1 million for research, $3.7 million in community stewardship and $1.9 million for watershed governance work.
Harper made reference to the collaboration between Manitoba and other provinces, as well as northern U.S. states -- half of the nutrients found in the lake originate from outside the province -- and the steps that have been taken to stabilize several kilometres of the lake's shoreline.
"Over the next five years, this second phase will enable researchers to turn science into action," Harper said. "The federal government is committed to making funds available to the areas that need it most and this will help to improve the quality of the water in Lake Winnipeg.
"We have set ambitious goals for Lake Winnipeg, and so we should."
Colleen Sklar, executive director of the Lake Friendly Initiative, is glad that government is committed to research regarding Lake Winnipeg.
"All of our communities have a special relationship with the lake. I have talked to many stakeholders to learn what needs to be done to clean up the lake," she said.
Outside, near the beachfront Lakeview Resort and Conference Centre, a few small groups of protesters were kept at bay by security as the prime minister briefly surveyed the lake alongside consortium researchers.