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

Apr 282016

A supporter writes …

Tell me again why Ontario’s Liberal government is essentially forcing Bala to accept an unwanted and unnecessary power plant at its precious falls.

This article is saying nothing new, but it serves as a reminder of what I have been saying for years – i.e., how badly they have handled the hydro portfolio!  Even though this article did not mention the impact on the cost of hydro in Ontario as a result of all the small private generating stations, like the one they are pushing upon Bala, or the billion dollars thrown away to cancel the Mississauga gas plant (just so they could win seats there), it is nevertheless a scathing indictment.

Surely Ontario deserves better!

Our thoughts …

The problem is the challenge of fighting politics with logic.

  1. The provincial Liberals have made a political decision that:
    1. Power demand will increase in the future.
    2. Renewable energy is better.
    3. Jobs can be created by subsidizing renewable energy projects (see this article, which shows the government’s continuing belief that letting self-serving private industry make policy will have a good outcome).

    Unfortunately the result is the government doesn’t look at individual projects to determine if they make sense, they leave this to the private developers. Everything is “proponent driven” and the government doesn’t have the technical resources or confidence to question the private developers – who are only in this for private profit, not the overall benefit of Ontario.

  2. The government has made a policy which applies for all situations, and doesn’t want to lose even one proposed project for fear that would begin:
    • A cascade of cancellations or embarrassments of cancellation costs, so …
    • Investors would lose trust in the government and no longer propose to finance and build generating stations (the government doesn’t want to fund such construction any more as costs always overrun).

    Therefore the government desperately wants to maintain good relations with private developers so the developers and their financiers feel confident in such opportunities being good investments, and will keep offering to finance and build generating stations – so the government doesn’t have to do this.

  3. Other huge issues are:
    1. People say that there is already a dam in Bala and motor boats, so the area isn’t pristine. But they don’t realize that at the dam in Bala is at the only publically-accessible shoreline in the area and this shoreline continuing to be beautiful and natural is key to the the area’s economy.
    2. There was already a generating station in Bala, so building a new one wouldn’t be a significant impact. But they don’t realize that the proposed generating station would:
      • Have 25 times the footprint (this is the difference between a small garden shed and a five-bedroom house).
      • Would rise 55’ – that’s five storeys – above the Moon River (the proponent said it would only be five feet).
      • Present a 25’-wall of concrete (which would attract graffiti) above the falls and Bala north dam instead of the trees currently seen.
      • Have over ten times the flow, which crosses the threshold to being deadly dangerous (a ten times increase is the difference between a summer breeze and a hurricane).
    3.  That there is a generating station at the Bracebridge falls, and Bracebridge is doing just fine. But they don’t realize that people don’t touch the water at the Bracebridge, they look at it while standing on a concrete platform from behind a chain-link fence. And Bracebridge has a 110’-long concrete breakwater protecting their municipal docks. And Bracebridge has a diversified economy, but Bala is all about tourism and people coming to visit the falls.
    4. The proponent hasn’t been required to present a plan of how they would operate this proposed generating station safely, or not cause flooding of Lake Muskoka.

This appears to be the “root cause” of the situation.

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