Last week I stood up during Question Period in the House of Commons, to raise the issue of Killarney Lake and ask the Liberal government to start accepting funding applications for the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program. I have been urging the government to start accepting funding proposals for the program as they have rejected projects for the past year.
I applaud the work the volunteers from the Killarney Lake Action Committee have been doing over the years to improve the water quality and fish habitat. I believe the federal Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program would be a tremendous fit for their proposed aeration field project and would like to see the government accept their funding proposal.
Killarney Lake suffers from heavy eutrophication, with organic material that has built up on the bottom over the years. The excess of nutrients in the lake leads to an overabundance of blue-green algae blooms. This particular type of algae, which is bacteria, is toxic. Due to its toxicity, it is not eaten by the fish and therefore sinks to the lake bottom and decomposes, depleting the oxygen levels in the lake.
I have met with representatives from the Killarney Lake Action Committee to discuss the condition of the lake and have thrown my full support behind the group’s efforts to install a year-round aeration field system.
The Committee’s proposal to install an aeration field has already been submitted to the provincial government for funding under the Manitoba Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund, however they are unable to apply for the federal fisheries program as it is closed for proposals.
During Question Period, I asked the Liberals to start accepting proposals under the program and mentioned Killarney Lake in my question. During the response from the Liberal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, he completely ignored the question and mentioned the work they are doing for salmon, among other things.
Under our previous Conservative government, this program funded the aeration project at Pelican Lake, which has resulted in improved water quality and habitat improvement for fish. I believes the evidence suggests that a similar project for Killarney Lake should have comparable results. The only stumbling block from a federal perspective is the Liberals are not accepting a single new application for the program while very worthwhile projects are being ignored.
Previous to the 2015 election, projects under the program were funded across Westman. The creation of the program can be directly tied back to the efforts of my Manitoba Conservative colleague, Robert Sopuck.
In the weeks ahead, I will continue to ask the Liberal government to open the program for proposals and to urge them to get behind the Killarney Lake project.