TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Despite all of the efforts of its board members
and staff, the Ontario Great Lakes Foundation has scheduled closing its doors
at the end of this year, Don Robinson, President & CEO announced today.
Robinson said, "This is an extremely sad day for our Foundation which has
made such a tremendous contribution to improving our environment by funding
over 100 projects, resulting in major savings for the government. By building
stakeholder partnerships over its short 10-year history, the foundation has
generated over $30 million in restoration work using only its original
$5 million government seed money, and with an annual operating cost that
averages less than 10%." Robinson added, "Before we close the doors our
stakeholders, including the provinces 36 Conservation Authorities will be
contacted to determined the qualifying projects the Foundation is able to
support with its remaining funds - close to $1 million."
The Ontario Great Lakes Renewal Foundation was established in 1998 by the
former Ontario Government specifically to help raise funds in support of
restoration projects in the 15 remaining Areas of Concern around the Great
Lakes, as defined by the International Joint Commission.
The Great Lakes are considered to be one of our exceptional natural
wonders, containing more than 1/5th of the earth's fresh water, and in its
Basin providing a home for more than 40 million people on both sides of the
Robinson concluded, "Therefore, it's curious why the provincial
government is willing to let the only non-profit charitable Foundation to
successfully involve the private sector in cleaning up the Great Lakes cease
It is especially painful to see how under the Liberals many of our
province's key environmental concerns are not being adequately addressed. Here
is a good example from the home riding for the Minister of the Environment,
Laurel Broten. You would think with the lakeshore being in her riding's name
that the current Environment Minister would have the greatest concern for the
Great Lakes. After all, the Great Lakes are considered to be one of our
exceptional natural wonders, containing more than 1/5th of the earth's fresh
water, and providing a home in its Basin for more than 40 million people on
both sides of the border.
But no, here we have a minister who is willing to let the only non-profit
charitable Foundation in the province that has successfully involved the
private sector in cleaning up the Great Lakes - the Ontario Great Lakes
Renewal Foundation (OGLRF) -- cease to exist under her watch.
When asked why she is the only Environment Minister who has refused to
meet with the Foundation, the Minister claims, "I have too many stakeholders
and I can't meet with all of them." As for the Liberals so-called Great Lakes
policy, she points to the updated Canada/Ontario Agreement (COA) for the Great
Lakes as her way of addressing the issue. But the facts are that COA defines
the very same Areas of Concern in which the OGLRF has specifically been
funding restoration projects, with the help of the private sector, since its
inception in 1998.
So the question remains, why let the award winning Foundation that is
helping to clean up the Great Lakes close down, when it has been heralded by
environmentalists in the field for its spectacular record of funding over 100
projects with more than $6 million, and thus generating over $30 million in
restoration work with the help of the private sector? Surely it couldn't be
petty politics being played here based on a former PC government having
established the Foundation.
For more information on the Foundation's major contribution to Great
Lakes Renewal visit: www.greatlakesrenewal.ca
Ontario Great Lakes Renewal Foundation
For further information:
For further information: Dale McConaghy, Executive Director, (416)
494-7684, Website: www.greatlakesrenewal.ca