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

Aug 242016

Why is the provincial government supporting this looming disaster of a proposed project – without even asking the proponent to show they could operate it safely

As the proponent would eventually need to figure out if their proposed project could be operated safely anyways, why does the MNR not require this proof now.

  • It would be unprecedented to build a hydro-electric generating station in the middle of an extremely-popular in-water recreational area, and this proponent has never developed a hydro-electric generating station. This proponent has not shown they deserve this blind-faith trust that they could create an acceptable situation.
  • This concerns confirmed deadly risks, due diligence requires this be planned properly before any construction could begin.

The proponent and MNR just make the wishful statement that people shouldn’t be in the water there. But the facts are that:

  • There are both private and public docks closer than to any other known hydro-electric generating station.
  • The area is a navigable waterway so people have a right to be in the water. How would these people be informed of the extent of the dangerous waters. The proponent’s own information shows the water would be dangerous far outside of their proposed safety booms and directly adjacent to the Township’s Portage Landing. The public would have no warning or way of knowing when there would be treacherously-turbulent water, even though the MNR’s own Public Safety Measures Plan requires notification of such a change of flow in this area.

The MNR started this proposed project properly, protecting the public by stating the existing recreational actitivities and the public’s use of the area was important. The proponent had a responsible reply to this, as their proposal stated their proposed project would: “… not generally diminish the public’s enjoyment of the area for swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking and hiking”.

Buf for the 11 years since then, this inexperienced proponent keeps changing their plans and hopping from one bad idea to another, only making short-sighted changes in the hope of increasing their profits. They have shown no regard for the commitments they’ve made or for the area’s businesses or economy. Their evasiveness and decisions have infuriated the public, they have lost all social licence.

Some examples of the proponent’s complete disregard for the community:

  • They changed their proposed design to increase the flow and danger to the public.
  • They changed the orientation of the planned treacherously-turbulent flow to be towards and closer to the in-water recreational area and docks.
  • They changed from the safer run-of-river to a cycling operation, so their treacherously-turbulent flow would start without warning or local operator at about noon on summer days. This dangerous change would not abide by the MNR’s requirement that people in the water be warned before the flow to the Moon River is increased.
  • The water would be deadly dangerous outside of their proposed safety booms even though they have told the public it would be safe there.
  • They increased the planned size of the building, though they previously said they would not.
  • They changed to a construction sequence where their upstream cofferdam would risk damaging both the Bala north dam and the highway bridge.
  • Their proposed construction requires that the Township suspend the two Heritage protection by-laws so they can cut down all the trees and dump their blasted rock onto the site that is supposed to be protected.
  • Their plans now include building a portage that would encourage people to canoe directly beside and through the treacherously-turbulent flow they would create.
  • On December 9, 2015 they had all the trees on the proposed construction site cut down. This took only a day or two and they certainly could have delayed this until they had all their permits.
  • After the proponent spent more than a year negotiating the lease of land they desperately need from the Township of Muskoka Lakes to enable their proposed construction, two days after signing this lease the proponent was already disputing a clear environmental requirement in it.
  • The public look-out would require people to look down the Moon River by peering through big steel I-beams and hoist winches.
  • They have not updated their web site in the nine months since they removed most of the information from it. They do not reply to e-mails sent asking reasonable questions about their plans.

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