The written proposal for the economic impact study received by the Township of Muskoka Lakes and the Ministry of the Environment stated that:
- The negative economic impacts of the proposed project would be included in the study.
- They would have an opportunity to comment on the study before it was finalized.
Neither of these occured, we can only assume this was due to direction from the proponent. That is, the economic impact study did not deliver what the proponent said it would – the negative impacts.
In this letter dated May 14, 2010, the Ministry of the Environment requested that the proponent conduct further study on the economic impacts of the proposed generating station at the Bala Falls.
This August 3, 2010 proposal from the Centre for Spatial Economics, who were later selected to do this work, they note:
- That the study would assess the “positive and negative economic impacts of the construction phase of the project” as well as the “positive and negative impacts of the operating phase of the project” (page 3).
- That the “preliminary report will be circulated to the Township … for comment prior to finalizing” (page 5).
Since this proposal was provided to the Township of Muskoka Lakes and the Ministry of the Environment, this what the proponent was claiming would happen.
But in fact, in the proponent’s economic impact study the negative impacts were not assessed and the Township was not provided with a preliminary report (our evaluation of the study is here, and a peer review is here). The study did not ask area businesses what negative impacts the proposed project would have (for example, due to traffic disruptions due to blasting and hauling more than 1,000 dump-trucks of rocks). And the study did not interview tourists to determine if reducing the falls to a trickle would affect their desire to visit Bala.
The proponent justifies the the work done by their study by stating that “Note that the scope of the study, and the selection of the firm (Centre for Spatial Economics) to complete it were agreed on by the Township in August 2010”. This may be true, but the study did not deliver what the proponent told the Township it would receive.
Given that the study’s authors had proposed items 1. and 2. above, we can only assume these did not happen due to direction from the proponent.