The proposed project to build a hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls still requires at least the following approvals:
- Phase 2, Permanent Works, Plans and Specifications, under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act, from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNR). Required for construction of proposed structure, so is needed before construction could begin.
- Environmental Compliance Approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Required for the handling, treatment, and testing of the water pumped from the excavation for the proposed structure, so is needed before contruction could begin.
- Driveway entrance permit from the District Municipality of Muskoka. Required to access Township’s Portage Landing, which they hope to lease to facilitate the proposed construction.
- Approval to proceed with widening the shoulder of Muskoka Road 169 fronting Township’s Portage Landing. Requires proponent submit detailed engineering drawings, a Heritage Impact Assessment, and a $2M Letter of Credit before construction could begin. Complicated by required maintenance work on the Muskoka Road 169 bridges over the Bala north channel and Bala south channel, as reported here.
- Lease for three parcels of land owned or controlled by the Township of Muskoka Lakes (Portage Landing, south half of Don’s Bakery / Portage Landing parking lot, north half of Precambrian Shield parking lot). Required before construction could begin. Approved by the Council of the Township of Muskoka Lakes on January 26, 2016, but not yet signed.
We continue to pursue the unaddressed public safety and environmental concerns and will have more to report in the coming weeks.
The MNR is attempting to claim their only responsibility is that the structure of the proposed generating station would be sound, and that any dangers created by the operation of the proposed generating station would only be the responsibility of the proponent. However, history has shown that if safe operation is not possible, then the operational dangers are the responsibility of the designers and those that approved the design. Some examples are presented in this article.
Canadian Motorcyle Cruisers, Drone Video, and Photographs
To show their support, the Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers had a multi-chapter ride to Bala on June 25, 2016. We had water and items from Don’s Bakery for them, walking tours to show the concerns, and they now all have a Save the Bala Falls button. A great event and day.