On March 14, 2014, Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) submitted a Part II Order request to the Minister of Environment on the Environmental Report for the Marter Township, Blanche River Hydroelectric proposal, on the grounds that, in our opinion, Xeneca Power Development Inc. did not meet the requirements of the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower (Class EA) in numerous areas.
ORA is pleased to report that today we received a response from the Minister’s office, stating that “based on the ministry’s review of the Environmental Report, Xeneca has failed to meet the Class EA requirements”.
The Ministry is requiring Xeneca to go back and correct several deficiencies. Once the deficiencies are corrected Xeneca can resubmit its Notice of Completion and Environmental Report. This will be very difficult for Xeneca to fulfill with just one employee and a cell phone. We are still awaiting decisions on the Part II Order requests ORA submitted on the Wabagishik, Frederick House and Ivanhoe Rivers Environmental Reports.
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In November of 2011 ORA reviewed the Wanatango Falls Final Environmental Report (ER), and expressed concern to the Minister of Environment over its many deficiencies and uncertainties in our Part II Order request. It is surprising that after 2 ½ years of additional studies, preparation, and negotiating time, that this “Final” ER has not advanced in either its sophistication, readiness, or its economic and environmental viability or certainty. Xeneca is still not ready to bring this proposal through to Notice of Completion. Many crucial decisions have not yet been made so that the public and First Nations are left with many questions unanswered.
Additionally, the proponent is still working diligently to transform the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) policy and process to their own will and liking in order to maximize power generation, and to not have to spend the required dollars to thoroughly study and mitigate the impacts within the entire Zone of Influence (ZOI). Perhaps if the proponent invested the same resources into following the recommendations of the regulators they would have ended up with a much stronger and more environmental responsible and sustainable proposal. Continue reading
Healthy rivers are vital to our survival on this planet. Damming rivers to provide income for this generation is short-sighted and ill-advised, and will diminish a life-giving resource that is essential to the survival of our future generations.
The decision-making and reporting process used by Xeneca in reaching its conclusions in this ER are neither transparent nor traceable. First Nation and public consultation were inadequate, many kilometers of riverine ecosystem have not been adequately assessed, and there are many other concerns and uncertainties detailed above. As a result, ORA submits that Xeneca has not met the requirements of the Class EA for Waterpower.
After having carefully reviewed the Ivanhoe River Generating Stations for The Chute and Third Falls ER, and its supporting documentation, ORA is requesting that the Minister of Environment issue a Part II Order to elevate this EA to an Individual Environmental Assessment.
Elevating this Project to a more rigorous and thorough Individual EA would improve the project by allowing time for further key studies to be completed, and for many of our recommendations noted above to be incorporated into the Project. Thus allowing for a more sustainable and responsible contribution to the Province of Ontario. As PGL said, “The geomorphic study would most certainly benefit from further field investigations in which additional data could be collected throughout the zone of influence to compile a more complete collection of river characteristics.” So would many other aspects of the Project. Continue reading
Krugerdorf Chutes, Blanche River
This proposal has a Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) contract which pays a 50% peaking bonus for all power generated. FIT Contracts have a 40 year term. Projects with FIT contracts cannot be told to stop generating if Ontario has a surplus of power – they get paid for all power generated whether it is required or not. Proposed to produce 2.1 MW Installed Capacity, which with seasonal flows will more realistically produce 50% of that – approximately 1 MW of power.
ORA has made a Part II Order request to the Minister of Environment to elevate this proposal to an Individual Environmental Assessment – a much more rigorous environmental assessment. Awaiting MOE response.
Published: 14 March 2014
“It is ORA’s submission that Xeneca’s approach falls far short of their claims in many key aspects of this ER, and does its best to sell the reader on the project, with an approach of convincing the reader to just trust them, let them build it, and then through monitoring and adaptive management during pre and post construction the riverine ecosystem will be just fine. This approach is not acceptable.” Read more below:
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Wabagishik Rapids – Vermilion River
“Our concerns have not been alleviated by Xeneca’s response; in fact they are heightened as a result of their continued insistence that studies were completed when clearly they were not. As a result of this, one has to wonder what else they are not telling us. What will happen when a company like this takes over a large 20 to 30 km section of lake and river that local stakeholders and aquatic life rely on – all to produce approximately 1.7 MW of power. Xeneca’s behaviour does nothing but erode our trust and confidence even further. Continue reading
The City of Greater Sudbury is proposing to decommission the Lively Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and upgrade the Walden WWTP. Vermilion River Stewardship (VRS) has requested tertiary treatment, which is a third means of effluent treatment, to improve water quality on the lower Junction Creek, Simon Lake, McCharles Lake, and the lower Vermilion River. VRS is making a request to the Minister of Environment to issue a Part II Order to elevate this proposal to an Individual Environmental Assessment. See attached letter.
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Wabagishik Rapids, Vermilion River – Proposed Dam Site
Excerpt: “This project has not been planned in an environmentally responsible manner, and has not fully taken into account the interests of local stakeholders and the public. Therefore, it is our position that for all the reasons noted herein, Xeneca has not fulfilled its requirements under the Class EA for Waterpower.”