It has now been more than 12 years that the proponent has been pursuing constructing a hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls. In those 12 years all they’ve been able to do is cut down some trees and put up a chain-link fence. The proponent still does not have the construction approvals needed from; the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and the District Municipality of Muskoka.
The proponent has not replied to the last ten letters we’ve sent to them, the MNRF has not replied to our letters concerning risk to private property and public safety and infrastructure, and the Premier’s office has not replied to the hundreds of letters we all sent to them in January 2017 concerning public safety. Clearly all are too embarrassed that they have no acceptable answers to the many unaddressed public safety concerns.
This mess continues to be a shameful waste of everyone’s time, and is yet another example that the provincial Liberal government’s political direction is misguided and makes no sense. The provincial election will be within the next year, and the provincial Liberals are desperately rolling out changes they tell us are “fair” – their Fair Housing Plan, their Fair Hydro Plan, and the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan.
So the Liberal’s Fair Drowning Plan for Unsuspecting Tourists seems to be that the politicians …
- Don’t care that the proponent would deceive the public as the water made dangerous by the proposed station would extend hundreds of feet outside of the downstream safety boom (which would not comply with the Canadian Dam Association’s public safety guidelines).
- Won’t take action even though the proposed generating station would start operation – without warning – at about noon on summer days, even though the MNRF’s public safety guidelines require warning the public before flow is increased to the Moon River.
- Won’t require the proponent to submit an Addendum to their environmental assessment even though the proponent continues to make environmentally-significant changes to their plans, for example they have recently (yet again) changed their upstream cofferdam plan.
The provincial Liberals need to be reminded that we vote, and we have family, friends, and neighbours in ridings throughout southern Ontario and we’ll be loudly asking embarrassing questions during the upcoming election campaign.
Then-Premier Dalton McGuinty said in 2013 of his decision to support cancelling the Mississauga and Oakville generating stations: “For me, it was about doing the right thing.” The billion-dollar-difference is that our politicians can now make the decision to do the right thing, knowing the proponent would have no basis to claim any costs or penalty as:
- The provincial government would not have to cancel anything, they simply need to inform the proponent that the requirements for further approvals have not been met due to the unacceptably negative impacts of the many environmentally-significant changes the proponent has made (and continues to make) after receiving their 2013 environmental approval.
- The proponent has provided inaccurate and misleading information, and by submitting their 2005 Proposal, the proponent agreed that the government could therefore rescind any contracts and the proponent could not claim that any costs or penalty is payable.