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

Oct 252016

Current summary

  • The proponent still does not have all the approvals needed to construct their proposed hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls.
  • There are major issues of public safety still unaddressed.

Our Fall 2016 update
Read it here.

Ontario announces it has enough power generation
On September 27, 2016 the Ontario Liberal government announced that as Ontario has an adequate electricity supply for the next ten years, they were cancelling the planned procurement of additional renewable power generation – saving Ontarians $3.8 billion. Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault said it only makes sense to “make common sense adjustments”. View the video of the announcement here and press release here.

While this announcement would not directly affect the proposed project to build a hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls, it does show the government now accepts and admits that new electricity generation based on renewable energy is too expensive and will not be needed for the foreseeable future.

For the proposed Bala generating station, we have shown the unaddressed public safety concerns (some here). If the proponent continues to refuse to show how or if they could operate their proposed Bala generating station safely, we request the governent not provide any further approvals, as this proposed project can be cancelled without cost or penalty.

Ontario announces electrical power trading agreement with Québec
Earlier this month, the Ontario government announced an agreement with the province of Québec which includes Ontario purchasing 14 TW•h (that is 14 million megawatt-hours) of hydro-electricity over a seven-year period. As the proposed hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls would produce up to 20 GW•h of electrical power per year, this agreement will provide Ontario with one hundred times the power that would be produced by the proposed Bala generating station.

The Montréal La Presse newspaper (translated here) reports that for this agreement, Ontario would pay 5 ¢/kW•h, which is less than half the 13 ¢/kW•h to 17 ¢/kW•h which Ontario would be paying the Bala proponent for the heavily-subsidized power their proposed generating station would produce – even when it is not needed.

Highway bridge rehabilitation work
If you drive through Bala you’ll see that the rehabilitation work has begun on the District Municipality of Muskoka’s two Muskoka Road 169 bridges (over the Bala north channel and Bala south channel). This work; is unrelated to the proposed hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls, is expected to be completed in the spring, and must be completed before the proponent could begin any of their planned work. The District’s Road Closures, Construction and Restrictions web page has this report on the contract.

Proposed wind turbines near Collingwood
For over six years, a company has been pursuing the construction of eight 476′-high wind turbines near Collingwood. Among the concerns expressed by the community are that serious harm to human health would result as these wind turbines (each taller than a 45-storey building) would be located too close to two nearby aerodromes, the dangers being due to both direct aircraft impact and due to the air tubulance caused by these proposed wind turbines. (Aerodromes have fewer staff and facilities, and are typically used by smaller airplanes than traditional airports.)

Despite years of detailed concern and opposition from the community, in February 2016 the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change approved this controversial proposed project. As a result, a local property owner, a local Councillor who also owns one of the aerodromes, the Town of Collingwood, the Township of Clearview, and the County of Simcoe all appealed the MOECC’s approval to Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal.

A total of 15 experts testified at the nine-day hearing which was during May and June of this year. Earlier this month the Tribunal released their decision that the appellants had met the high test required to show that serious harm would occur.

This is a very significant finding, that the MOECC’s approval did not adequately consider dangers to the public. The Tribunal is allowing further submissions on how these dangers would be addressed, and the company has stated it is now considering their next steps.

Sad anniversaries

  • In less than two weeks, it will be a full year since the proponent has updated their web site (and that update removed most of the information they previously had posted).
  • It has been eight years since the proponent has held a public meeting.
  • The proponent has been pursuing this proposed project for more than 11 years.

This is a floundering proposed project that finally needs to be put out of its misery.

Thank you volunteers volunteers were out in Bala all day both on the Thankgiving weekend and the Cranberry festival weekend talking to the public, answering questions, and providing information. There were thousands of visitors to Bala, and we heard loud and clear, again and again, that; NO ONE likes Kathleen Wynne, NO ONE wants a hydro plant in Bala, NO ONE likes Hydro One bills, and NO ONE trusts politicians – people are informed and upset. Conversely, we now know; EVERYONE loves Don’s Bakery brownies, EVERYONE appreciates’s efforts on all fronts, and EVERYONE says they want to help.

One of our volunteers summed it up: “People are VERY pissed at this government! – It isn’t right, we don’t need the energy, we don’t want the high energy prices and we don’t want the Government’s blindness to hurt Bala with that Hydro Plant. “

Our volunteers found it very compelling and confirming to work the front lines and hear first-hand the opinions that really do matter. It was busy, and we’ll keep at it.

Donations to support our work
As the end of the (tax) year approaches, keep in mind that you can make tax-deductible donations to help us continue to work to ensure the government realizes and addresses the extreme dangers which the construction of the proposed Bala generating station would create. Your receipt for income tax purposes is provided immediately when your donation is made on-line, details are here.

  6 Responses to “e-Newsletter – October 26, 2016”


  2. I saw the cranberry bog for the first time this year and had a cranberry dog – deeeelicious. A chocolate malted milkshake across from the LCBO, a visit to the United Church beside the north channel, many pictures of this tourist treasure and the water falls. Don’s Bakery was so tempting and I checked out the famous Key -the home of the Big Bands for a century. . A tourist experience that will always be remembered. To all those courageous people involved in Save The Bala Falls I say congratulations and never give up.

  3. Thank goodness that the Town of Collingwood, the Township of Clearview, and the County of Simcoe are all mindful of their duty to protect public safety in their jurisdictions.
    Does the Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML) and the District of Muskoka (DM) share the Town of Collingwood, the Township of Clearview, and the County of Simcoe’s obligation to protect public safety? Considering the extreme new danger to public safety that would be created by the proposed industrial hydroelectric generating station at the North Bala Falls one could reasonably expect that they would be demanding proof of the proposal’s safety. However I am not aware of any such concerns on the part of the TML or the DM.
    It seems to me that our mayor and his “slate” are oblivious to this extensively documented, extreme new danger to public safety.

  4. Also thanks for posting our government officials contacts. Here is my email to them:

    I’m thrilled to hear your announcement that our province will cancel some of it’s expensive proposed energy projects.
    Ontario simply does not need the additional energy. We can finally stop selling our excess energy to the US at a loss.

    Now can you please tell me why you think we need to replace the beautiful Bala falls with an ugly, expensive and dangerous turbine?

    It won’t help the local businesses, tourism, traffic, the fish or endangered wildlife either!

    It’s time to put this 11 year old proposal in the garbage where it belongs.

  5. We were at our cottage this past weekend and saw the traffic lights and beginnings of construction in Bala. We were sure that this was due to the dreaded hydro plant. Thank you so much for letting us know that it has nothing to do with it. I’m sure many other cottagers who are against the hydro plant and saw this construction, assumed that the township/province are going ahead with it. Since we didn’t drive through Bala, I’m not sure if there was any signage describing the work being done there. In Toronto when ever there is some major work being done near our house (ie. road paving, new sewers, etc.) we are notified either by automated phone message, email or via flyers. I can see how our Mayor in Bala is not running to disclose the work to us hoping that we’d resign ourselves to the project continuing ahead.

  6. Good morning;

    My wife and I visited Bala during the Cranberry Festival, what a great annual event and what great weather. Bala Falls, what a beautiful and natural sight.

    Hopefully the Wynne Government will NOT allow these beautiful falls to become a hydro, and as you have stated above it makes no absolutely NO sense NOW that Ontario and Quebec have signed an agreement for Ontario to purchase electricity directly from Quebec.

    There were numerous people signing the ongoing petition.

    Keep up the hard work, we Ontarians DO appreciate it.

    Michael and Bonnie Boltman

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