The Mayor and some Councillors justify their support for the proposed hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls by saying they cannot stop it, claiming only the province could. The fact is, the municipality can stop this proposed project, as explained here. One of the reasons is the recently-learned news that the District Municipality of Muskoka owns the riverbed under their Muskoka Road 169 bridge over the Bala north channel.
As we noted in our October 19, 2015 presentation to the Township’s Planning Committee of the Whole, on October 21, 2014 (a full year ago) the Ministry of Natural Resources informed the proponent that the MNR does not own the land below the District’s bridge, and that the municipality does, and that the proponent therefore is to so notify the District. The proponent did not do this. In fact, over the following months, the proponent requested and after some negotiation was granted both Driveway Entrance permits and approval to widen the shoulder of Muskoka Road 169 – both of which the proponent desperately needs for their proposed construction. As the proponent did not inform either Township or District Councillors of this unexpected riverbed ownership even though the MNR had requested they do so, the proponent was negotiating in bad faith.
A few days before this meeting, we provided our October 16, 2015 presentation to the Council of the Township of Muskoka Lakes, requesting they vote to enact the resolution passed at the earlier Committee of the Whole meeting. This requested that the District not permit blasting or excavation below the District’s bridge, as this could damage the bridge, which would result in a 50 km detour and huge inconvenience to the area businesses and public. Many thanks to Councillors Linda Barrick-Spearn, Sandy Currie, Allen Edwards, Phil Harding, Donelda Kruckel, and Ruth-Ellen Nishikawa for passing this resolution.