As we have been noting for years (some articles here and here), the proponent’s obstruction of the Bala north channel during their proposed construction risks flooding Lake Muskoka, as flow through the Bala north channel is often required even outside of the March to May spring freshet. This flooding would be due to a rain storm and/or melting snow in the watershed upstream of Bala.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has therefore required that the proponent’s upstream cofferdam can be removed on 24 hours notice. This requires that not only could the cofferdam be removed, but also that the water would then flow through the Bala north dam without the flow bypassing the north dam or damaging the Bala north dam (as the proponent would be making structural changes to it).
The proponent has variously stated they would prevent flow bypassing the Bala north dam by using an intermediate cofferdam, or by piling sand bags there, or by not excavating the land downstream. They have also committed they would not obstruct flow through the Bala north channel.
As shown by the photograph below (taken January 11, 2018, click on it for a larger view) we now see the proponent is not honouring these commitments and could not remove their upstream cofferdam, as the resulting flow would bypass the Bala north dam which would cause environmental damage.
The proponent’s decision to not comply with the MNRF’s approval risks flooding Lake Muskoka. We look to the MNRF to protect the public’s interests by enforcing the conditions of the approval granted to the proponent. We have therefore sent this letter to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.