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

Jan 052016
 

Thank You!, it has been a great year
Due to your help and financial contributions, and the good input and advice from many, the unacceptably dangerous proposed hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls is still only a proposal.

Some of the great work by SaveTheBalaFalls.com and others over the past year includes:

  • Boaters hand-delivered more than 500 information packages to area docks, which both increased awareness and provided additional volunteers.
     
  • The SaveTheBalaFalls.com information and fundraising tent was set-up in Bala every long weekend last summer, with the strong support of area businesses, reaching thousands of Bala visitors.
     
  • We have received the support of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (who also manage our charitable donations), the Muskoka Lakes Association and the Acton Island Association.
     
  • This issue has received international attention through Rob Stewart and Jonah Bryson’s short film “Fight for Bala, Part 1” and also through articles in the Huffington Post, National Geographic, and the Globe & Mail.
     
  • Visiting 32 southern Ontario hydro-electric generating stations confirms it would be unprecedented to locate such a generating station in the middle of a popular in-water recreational area – yet the proponent has not shown how this could be done safely.
     
  • An independent report from the Lifesaving Society of Canada confirmed the proposed project would “create extreme new dangers to both upstream and downstream in-water recreation”, and advised that plans be presented to the public before any construction be allowed to begin.
     
  • We have met directly with senior officials at both the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and look forward to continued dialogue to ensure the community’s public safety concerns are addressed.
     
  • The Township of Muskoka Lakes chose to ignore our offer to avoid legal action as we have questions concerning the Township’s process to lease land to the proponent to facilitate their proposed construction. Our case was heard in Court last month. The judge has since decided to dismiss the case, and we are reviewing the decision and considering options including our right to appeal.

The municipal, provincial and federal governments are all attempting to avoid responsibility for public safety for both area residents and visitors, so we are proud to work with the community, and not be an idle by-stander.

Thank you for your continued support.
 

Court Decision
The judge dismissed the legal action we initiated, the full decision is here.

SaveTheBalaFalls.com is reviewing the Court decision and considering its options including its right to appeal the decision.

We note that we gave the Township of Muskoka Lakes the option of avoiding this legal action, yet they ignored this opportunity. The result is that while the Township claims to be trying to reduce the time and costs of dealing with this issue, they have actually done the opposite, for example:

  • Even Mayor Furniss has stated he’d rather the proposed station not be built, yet rather than acting on this he promotes the construction, and as a result the Township incurs unnecessary costs for consultants and lawyers.
     
  • Rather than quickly and directly responding to our concerns (see our November 12, 2015 e-Newsletter) the Township chose to instead incur the time, delay, and costs of going to Court.

Public Safety Concerns
As the unaddressed public safety concerns remain, we will continue to pursue these in all ways possible.

We look forward to further meetings with senior officials at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and also the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, to discuss how these issues would be addressed.

We are baffled why too many people don’t care that this proposed generating station would drown people.

We are also surprised at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s; reliance on irrelevant approvals, inapplicable other situations, and ridiculous justifications, more detail here.
 

On to 2016
Much work will be required in 2016. As always, e-mail us if you have any questions.

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