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Sault lands Great Lakes fisheries research centre

Will be used to store equipment and chemicals used to control sea lamprey on the four Great Lakes that Canada borders
Stock photo

SooToday reached out Friday to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to learn more about its intended use for a 20,000-sq.-ft. facility it plans to build on Yates Ave.

Dr. Marc Gaden, deputy executive secretary, told us the new building will be used to store equipment and chemicals it uses to control sea lamprey.

"We need a purpose-built facility for that because of the need to take care of the materials properly," Gaden said.

A report to be presented to city councillors on Monday said the building will "accommodate 50-70 staff" and "will generate between 50 and 75 new skilled positions."

Gaden told us they will not be new jobs, but existing positions at Great Lakes Forestry Centre who will continue to work from their offices at 1219 Queen St. East.

"They are existing positions," Gaden said.

"I think if there are any jobs related to this, it would be in the construction side. We're not expanding our staff."

Sault Ste. Marie failed earlier this year to convince the federal government to build the headquarters of its new Canada Water Agency here.

This year's federal budget, introduced to the House of Commons on March 28 by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, disclosed that the new water agency will be based in Winnipeg.

But it appears we've won a consolation prize: a 20,000-sq.-ft. Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) facility to be built on industrial land on Yates Avenue.

The new facility comes with between 50 and 75 skilled jobs, city councillors will learn on Monday.

Little is said in the materials prepared for Monday's council meeting about how GLFC intends to use its Sault operation.

The matter is on Monday's agenda as a real estate transaction, with a 6.69-acre parcel of city-owned industrial land to be purchased by GLFC for $334,500.

Here's how GLFC is described in a report prepared by Rick Van Staveren, Sault Ste. Marie's director of economic development:

Great Lakes Fishery Commission is a bi-national commission made up of representatives of the United States and Canada and is located at 2100 Commonwealth Boulevard, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

It was formed by the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, concluded in 1954 and ratified in 1955. It has eight members: four members are appointed by the president of the United States, serving six-year terms, and four are appointed by the Privy Council of Canada.

The commission is charged, under Article 4 of the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, with conducting research and making recommendations on the management of Great Lakes fisheries, as well attempting the eradication of the sea lamprey from the Great Lakes.

— SooToday