The ORA will never be in favour of streamlining the regulatory, approvals and permitting processes as they were put in place to protect our natural environment and communities, and have already been significantly undermined.
Instead, we need strong and rigorous environmental assessment and robust public, Indigenous and stakeholder consultation if we are to build climate resilience into our air, land and freshwater resources.
I will briefly address my rationale and the dangers of streamlining the regulatory regime of hydroelectric facilities in particular, as it is commonly claimed by governments and industry to be ‘clean’, ‘green’ and ‘non-emitting. However, this is misleading the public at a pivotal time when we should be following the science.
Dams and hydropower facilities harm the environment and, when headponds or reservoirs are flooded, can produce carbon dioxide and methane for the life of the dam. Ontario is about to embark on a whole new era of dam building. Ontario has 224 operating hydropower plants and only 3 with fish passage. By the way, Ontario Power Generation has been selling Clean Energy Credits for hydroelectric since 2013. NO MORE NEW HYDROELECTRIC DAMS IN ONTARIO!!
The City of Cambridge is moving forward on a detailed design plan of the new rebuild of Riverside Dam on the Speed River. Construction is planned for 2022 and work set for completion in 2023. Meanwhile, the full price tag won’t be known until the dam’s design plan has been finalized. This dam has been determined to be at “high risk” of failing within the next 2 to 10 years.
ORA worked extensively towards the decommissioning of this dam. Removing the dam would have been much cheaper, safer and healthier for the riverine ecosystem.
The VRS clearly recognizes the serious concerns of the SLCSG, however; we urge caution in the City’s approach to mitigating the algae issue. VRS agrees that action must be taken by the City of Sudbury to resolve the long-standing issue of algae blooms once and for all; however, we differ in the recommended approach.
Toxic and nuisance algal bloom occurrences in Lake Erie have increased over the past decade. The blooms threaten drinking water quality, increase costs associated with treatment needs, and occasionally force closures of treatment plants. They clog industrial water intake systems, adversely impact commercial and recreational fishing activities and other recreational pursuits, and degrade fish and wildlife habitat and populations.
Environment Canada solicited input on the draft target recommendations of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) Nutrients Annex Subcommittee from June 30 to August 31, 2015. Following consideration of input received, Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will finalize targets by February 2016. Development of binational phosphorus reduction strategies and domestic action plans to meet the objectives for phosphorus concentrations and loading targets in Lake Erie will be developed by 2018.
Chicago, IL (June 2, 2015) – As the summer season begins around the lakes, more than 50 groups sent a joint letter to the governors and premiers of the Great Lakes states and provinces urging action to ensure the lakes, especially western Lake Erie, are free of harmful algal blooms that threaten the region’s economy, drinking water and way of life. The region’s leaders will be meeting in Quebec City, Quebec for the Leadership Summit of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, hosted by the Council of Great Lakes Governors, on June 12-14, 2015.
The Great Lakes are more than an alluring landscape – they are also a source of food and economic growth. Climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, and pollution now threaten to degrade that resource. We cannot afford to let that happen for both the sake of our economy and health.
The Great Lakes economy, which supports 56 million jobs and a GDP of $5.1 trillion, could be negatively impacted by a decline in water quality. In Ontario, the Great Lakes commercial and recreational fishing industries contribute about $234 million and $600 million annually to Ontario’s economy respectively. Over 73 million tourists visited Ontario in 2010, spending over $12.3 billion.
The health of 40 million people who live in the Great Lakes basin is also tied to the health of the Lakes. Over 70 per cent of Ontario residents, or three out of four residents3, get their drinking water from the Lakes, and yet toxic chemicals and other pollutants are building up in the water. Some of these harmful chemicals are toxic and could have long-term, chronic human health effects.
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.
Note: This is an excerpt of the original article – access by clicking here.
The federal government states that Fisheries and Oceans Canada no longer need to do this type of research. And yet when we look at the research being conducted at the ELA, the scientific data is sorely needed for a sustainable energy strategy.
One ELA study assesses the effects of hydroelectric development. Hydroelectric dams are often touted as a ‘clean’ energy solution. However, the ELA study raises questions about whether hydroelectric dams have similar impacts as burning fossil fuels.
“There’s a new idea around that reservoirs may be significant sources of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. And we want to test that idea, ”says Drew Bodaly, Research Scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in this Experimental Lakes video (see below). Continue reading →
An Ella Lake resident has just reported that the Blue-green Algae bloom is still persisting. So all local residents, cottagers and fishermen should continue to refrain from drinking, boiling, or using the water for the sauna.
Dr. Andrea Kirkwood, Faculty of Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology has taken a special interest in our winter outbreak, and has offered to examine a sample to determine the strain of blue-green algae present in Ella Lake.
Vermilion River Stewardship and the Beaver Lake Sports and Cultural Club are very concerned about public safety, and have requested signage warning of the blue-green algae to be posted at Ella Lake and Wabagishik Lake boat launches. Continue reading →