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

Oct 082014


The proponent claims their 2012 Addendum was “factual”, but it was not:

  • The proponent’s 2009 Environmental Screening Review Report clearly showed that their Option 2 proposal would not have obstructed the Bala Portage (which has always been south of the Bala north falls).
  • But their 2012 Addendum shows that their current Alternative 1A proposal would obstruct the Bala Portage; however this Addendum stated this change would be a “postive impact to portage”.


We see from this letter from the proponent and the excellent coverage by MooseFM of this issue that the proponent has responded to the Wahta Mohawks’ concern about the lack of First Nations consultation for the planned obstruction of the Bala Portage and the Wahta’s subsequent notification that even after the proponent’s claimed consultation, the proponent further negatively impacted the Bala Portage by increasing the size of their proposed generating station by 48%.

Firstly, the proponent stated to Wahta Chief Philip Franks:

The 2009 ESRR design blocked the Moon and Lake Muskoka ends of the purported portage trail. The 2012 Addendum design was a ‘positive impact to the portage’ because only the Moon River end of the trail would be blocked. In other words, the Lake Muskoka end of the trail is not blocked (the ‘positive impact’) by the revised Project design.

As shown by the red line in the graphic below, the proponent’s Option 2 design, which they presented in their 2009 Environmental Screening Review Report would not have obstructed the Bala Portage (click on the graphic for a larger view, and more detail is here):

  • The Bala Portage would not have been obstructed at the Moon River (as this area is outside of the restricted downstream safety boom area as shown in their Figure 6.5 – and the proponent would even have provided stairs to facilitate this access as noted in their Section
  • And the Bala Portage would not have been obstructed at Lake Muskoka (in fact, in their Section, the proponent recommended Diver’s Point as an alternate location, just as is shown in the graphic below).

In fact, the information presented by the proponent in 2009 would have allowed the Bala Portage to continue to be used as it was by David Thompson in 1837 and by the First Nations even before that, from what is now called Portage Landing on the Moon River to Diver’s Point on Lake Muskoka, details here.

Clearly, the proponent’s 2009 Environmental Screening Review Report showed that the Bala Portage – south of the Bala north falls – could continue to be used.

However, as shown below, the proponent’s 2012 Addendum shows that for their current Alternative 1A plan, they relocated the planned site for their proposed generating station with the result that it would obstruct the Bala Portage at the Moon River. This is due to; the province’s actions in building the Muskoka Road 169 highway bypass in 1965, the location of the opening in the highway guardrail, and the slope of the land at Portage Landing. The result is that all of the routes which may have been used by the Bala Portage over the years, for which the proponent’s own study attempts to speculate, would be obstructed.

In summary, the Bala Portage has always been south of the Bala north falls. The proponent’s 2009 Environmental Screening Review Report showed that for their proposed Option 2 design, the Bala Portage would not have been obstructed. But the proponent’s 2012 Addendum showed that for their currently-proposed Alternative 1A design, the Bala Portage would be obstructed. This change is definitely not a “postive impact”.

Secondly, as is further detailed here, in the proponent’s 2012 Addendum they provided a drawing of their proposed Alternative 1A generating station, the outline of which is highlighted in blue below (the red line is the Crown land property boundary).

However, 18 months later – over a year after all claimed consultation was completed – the proponent provided a new drawing of their proposed Alternative 1A generating station as part of their Driveway Entrance permit applications. The blue line below highlights the new outline.

Carefully measuring the areas of both of these Alternative 1A outlines shows that after the proponent finished consultation and after they received environmental approval for their 2012 design, the proponent increased the footprint of their design by 48%. The Bala Portage lands are culturally significant to the Wahta and other First Nations of the area, and there should have been consultation on this further negative impact on these lands.

  2 Responses to “The proponent is still desperately telling lies, even to the Wahta Mohawks”

  1. Peggy Peterson here, I am the woman camped out on the Portage to stop this project and I continue to post on asking for the truth to be told. The rendering they are posting makes it look like the massive 4000 square foot building is closer to the Municipal land and it is deceiving because they have left the trees that will be chopped standing, such deceptions will not serve anyone moving forward. It is day 39 of my Occupation of Bala Portage and we are going strong.
    I have been clear about this I will not take down my camp until this project is STOPPED.
    Thank you to everyone in this community who is helping me do this and supporting our effort. The truth will set Bala free. I am looking forward to meeting many more people over Thanksgiving and Cranberry, see you then…..

    • Thank you Peggy for your stand against a flawed proposal. Like Site 41 in Tiny Township, the Mega Quarry in Melancthon Township and other such situations in Ontario, the Ontario Government continues to ignore all common sense and the will of First Nations and local residents. This is pervasive in this Province. Various Ministries rubber stamp proposals by developers to trample people objections and degrade our environment, heritage and local economies. Privatization trumps all good sense and projects like the 1.1 billion dollar gas plant cancellation, Big Bay Point development, Midhurst Secondary Plan and closing Springwater Park are just a few examples of Ontario government mismanagement. First Nations and the public at large continue to have there rights trampled.. People have to stop accepting and peacefully continue to stand up against bullies like our senior governments and private developers. Premier Wynne promised in the past and during the last Provincial election to take away the Slap Suits and return to more honest and transparent governance but has not honored her promises. The Midhurst Secondary Plan is the most glaring example of this. Speak to Margaret Attwood about it. Thanks again Peggy and all those working to end this farce. You have support and in my opinion your fight is won. J. Morgan

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