The proposed project would make all this too dangerous to continue …

Apr 112011

Some have concluded that is opposing the proposed generating station at the Bala Falls because we just can’t accept change.

Let’s summarize the proposal:

  1. Except for a few weeks in March and April when their proposed power station could not handle any more water, the proposed project would be taking 94% of the water from the falls, leaving only a trickle year-round for scenic flow to attract tourists, which are so fundamental to the area’s economy.
  2. The proponent agreed to convene a flow distribution committee to make recommendations on the scenic flow concerns, and they required the following (and we quote) “Therefore, to summarize: SREL, as the proponent, will be finalizing the membership, mandate, agenda, and presentation material for this group and inviting guest speaker(s) over the next couple of weeks”. And yet, after these volunteers met (some of whom drove up for the evening meetings three weeks in a row), the pre-agreed optional fourth meeting was not convened and their work was completely ignored.
  3. The project would result in over 500′ of the only publically-accessible shoreline in the area becoming too dangerous for access.
  4. Despite our repeated requests to the proponent for something believable about the appearance of the project, they provided drawings that show:
    • A 5′-high, 30′-wide hoist mechanism entirely blocking the view from the proposed look-out.
    • Rocks and dirt blocking the required ventilation.
    • No information on the driveway retaining wall or fencing it would require.
    • … and on and on.
  5. That is, they want approval to proceed and we don’t even know how ugly it would be.
  6. While the proponent has been telling us for years that their proposed generating station would use a run-of-river operation, several months ago, they agreed with OPG that it would be cycled off and on more than once every day for at least eight weeks in the summer. But they have neglected to inform the public, and even now refer to this as “essentially run-of-river”. As there are implications for scenic flow, public safety, and fish habitat, an update to the environmental screening report should have been provided.
  7. As part of the Ministry of Natural Resources site release policy, the proponent would get control of Margaret Burgess Park (the green space north of the north falls) and Diver’s Point FOR 40 YEARS and being owned by the province this land may be exempt from municipal zoning by-laws and the proponent won’t provide written assurance that they would never during the term of their agreement with the MNR attempt to change or develop these properties.
  8. The proponent will not provide a completion bond, so if they ran into a technical problem, a cost overrun, or if they damaged the highway bridge or the north dam, they could just abandon the project, and leave the public with the mess of cleaning up their 300′ of rocks dumped into the Moon River as their coffer dam, or to fix the 40′-deep trench they’d have to blast across the highway. The similar mess in Port Carling is still not resolved years later.

This isn’t rejecting change, this is rejecting a bad proposal.

  2 Responses to “We’re Not Rejecting Change”

  1. It’s just totally preposterous for anybody even to be considering putting a hydro project in this quaint, historic, already-over-built part of a beautiful little town like Bala. It’s the sort of heresy that in the old days would have been regarded as an act of war… like poisoning somebody’s well. In this case ours. Our environmental well. Our cultural well. Our aesthetic well. The government’s attitude, as usual, seems to be Let it Happen… more money, more business… with no regard at all for the fact that in supporting the circulation of a little business and money here, the fundamental business of the town — really the only business of the town — as a beauty spot, is being violated.

  2. I can’t for all the love of God can think of a good reason why a company from Nowhere Town would come to this beautiful town site and say to You, the town people “by the way, we are going to destroy your environment and swamp you by doubling your hydro bills and we feel good about it. Really folks you do not get the picture here. Why are you not happy? Look at all the money we are going to give you. This is about us X-company and us making money in the name of Green Power (lol)”. Did I leave something out? Where are all these environment protection agencies when we need them as this is the case. I sure hope that the whole town is going to rally against this project.

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