Category Archives: Wanatango Falls

Terminated FIT Contracts

The Ontario Rivers Alliance filed a Freedom of Information Application with the IESO in February of 2016 to obtain the following list of terminated Feed-in-Tariff Contracts: Continue reading

10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects

Wabagishik Rapids – Vermilion River

MEDIA RELEASE:  For Immediate Release:  13 July 2016

10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects

SUDBURY:  The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is celebrating a major victory in the protection of 10 Ontario rivers that have been under threat from 19 proposed hydroelectric projects.   Actions taken by the ORA and its members have led to what was considered to be impossible – the termination of 19 Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Contracts.

In 2011, ORA came into being to address a rash of 87 proposed hydroelectric proposals initiated under the Green Energy Act.  The offer of generous incentives to produce power during peak demand hours had proponents rushing to claim access to falls and rapids on rivers all across the province.  The number of proposals to actually receive FIT Contracts was soon reduced to 41, and of those, Xeneca Power Development Inc. had secured 19 contracts for projects involving 23 Crown sites on 10 Ontario rivers. Continue reading

Wanatango Falls Waterpower Project – ORA Part II Order request


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

PRESS RELEASE: Ministry of Environment Rejects Hydro Developer’s Environmental Report – 3 Ontario Rivers are Safe for Now

3 May 2012

In March of this year Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) received notice with respect to its Part II Order request made on the hydroelectric proposal by Xeneca Power Development Inc. (Xeneca) for The Chute, on the Ivanhoe River.  The letter stated, “the Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) review has determined that the project was not planned in accordance with the OWA Class EA.”  “If Xeneca proceeds with the Project under the OWA Class EA, additional planning work will be required.”   Linda Heron, Chair of ORA stated, “We congratulate MOE on making this decision.  This is the right action, and demonstrates that the Minister’s office shares the public’s concern about the level of planning that went into this proposal, and is ensuring that the intent of the environmental assessment process is upheld.”

Heron reported, “We also recently received notices from MOE’s office that Xeneca has now voluntarily withdrawn their other two Notices of Completion issued for the Four Slide Falls and Wanatango Falls proposals.”  MOE’s responses to Xeneca on these two Notices of Completion were, “If Xeneca wishes to proceed with the Project, it must demonstrate that the Class EA planning process has been followed and is clearly traceable in the Project File.”

In 2011, Xeneca issued Environmental Reports and Notices of Completion for their “modified run-of-river” proposals at The Chute – Ivanhoe River; Four Slide Falls – Serpent River; and Wanatango Falls – Frederick House River, Hydroelectric GS.

ORA is concerned about the numerous negative environmental impacts associated with these “modified run-of-river” hydroelectric proposals, as well as the quality and content of the Environmental Reports submitted by the proponent, and made Part II Order requests to MOE to elevate all three of these proposals to an Individual Environmental Assessment, which is a more rigorous and thorough environmental assessment.

The serious potential impacts on water quality from these types of proposals could increase the prevalence of toxic Blue Green Algae in Ontario lakes and rivers where reports have already been on the rise with the advance of climate change.  There are over 2,000 potential waterpower sites identified throughout Ontario in the 2005 Hatch Acres Report.  Of those there are currently 87 hydroelectric dam proposals going through the approvals process, and an additional 50 MW of hydroelectric power has just been added as a result of the recent FIT Review.    These 87 proposals also represent billions of dollars’ worth of Crown assets that are being given away to private developers whose primary focus is on profits.

“We all want green energy, but let’s ensure it is not the “greenwashed” version that is threatening our source water, natural environment, aquatic species, recreational use, and property values.  Protection of water quality is essential to our public health and safety”, said Heron.

ORA is a Not-for-Profit grassroots organization with a focus on healthy river ecosystems all across Ontario.   ORA members represent numerous organizations such as the French River Delta Association, Vermilion River Stewardship, CPAWS-Ottawa Valley, Friends of Temagami, Paddle Canada, Whitewater Ontario, along with many other stewardships, associations, and private and First Nations citizens, who have come together to protect, conserve and restore healthy river ecosystems in Ontario.


2 March 2012 – MOE to ORA – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
9 March 2012 – MOE to Xeneca – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
9 September 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order Request – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
19 April 2012 – MOE to ORA – Four Slide Falls, Serpent River
28 September 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order request, Four Slide Falls
4 November 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order request, Wanatango Falls, Frederick House River
Miscellaneous – Minutes & Correspondence


 For more information contact Linda Heron, ORA Chair, at (705) 866-1677, or by email at [email protected].

ORA Website:

Ivanhoe River, The Chute Proposed Generating Station – Garcia-Wright, Director MOE, to P. Gillette, Xeneca – 2 March 2012

Xeneca Voluntarily Withdraws Wanatango Falls, Frederick House River Environmental Report


MOE Response to ORA – Ivanhoe, Serpent & Frederick House Rivers – Part II Order Requests

Good morning Ms. Linda Heron:

As you are aware, Xeneca Power Development Incorporated (Xeneca) is currently completing additional work required for The Chute Hydroelectric Generation Station Project (Chute Project).  As per the Director’s March 2, 2012 letter to you, the Chute Project was not planned in accordance with the Ontario Waterpower Association’s Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects (Class EA).  Following completion of the additional work required, Xeneca will be revising its project documentation and re-issuing the Notice of Completion of the Chute Project.  It is the understanding of the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) that Xeneca is currently completing the additional work to address outstanding concerns raised by the requesters and agencies.

For the Serpent River Four Slide Falls Generation Station (Four Slide Falls) and Frederick House River Wanatango Falls Generation Station (Wanatango Falls) projects, the MOE’s formal review of the Part II Order requests has not started.  In accordance with the Class EA, the MOE’s review of the Part II Order requests begins after receiving all necessary information from Xeneca.  Given the recent developments relating to the Chute Project, it is the understanding of the MOE that Xeneca may be withdrawing the Notices of Completion for both Four Slide Falls and Wanatango Falls.  Once the MOE receives confirmation from Xeneca of its intentions for Four Slide Falls and Wanatango Falls, you along with the other requesters will be notified in writing.

Should you have any further questions relating to the status of the Xeneca’s waterpower projects, I encourage you to contact Mr. Mark Holmes at Xeneca.  Mr. Holmes can be reached at 416-590-9362, or by e-mail at [email protected].

Yours sincerely,

Cindy Batista│Project Officer

Environmental Approvals Branch│Ministry of the Environment

2 St. Clair Avenue West, 14th Floor, Toronto ON  M4V 1L5

Wanatango Falls, Frederick House River – Proposed Hydroelectric Dam – Robichaud

November 3rd, 2011

Vanesa Enskaitis
Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations
Xeneca Power Development Inc.
5255 Yonge Street, Suite 1200
North York, ON M2N 6P4

Re: Wantango Falls on Frederick House River

Dear Ms Enskaitis,

The purpose of this letter is to forward my closing concerns and comments as per the Notice of Completion prescribed review period.
This project is to establish a hydro generating station at “Wanatango Falls” on the Frederick House. The project is being developed by Xeneca Power Development Incorporated. The Notice of Completion under Class EA will reach its deadline of November 4th, 2011 for public and stakeholder participation.

I was able to read the Environmental Assessment report and with the assistance of the folks at Xeneca and NRSI, I managed to get a somewhat clear picture of the present aquatic situation with respect to the known presence of lake sturgeon in the vicinity of the proposed Wanatango project site. I also must admit that the resident biologist at the Cochrane District office of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources was instrumental in helping me broaden my knowledge of migration, habitat usage and the resident population factors for lake sturgeon below Zeverly Rapids a short distance downstream of Wanatango. Continue reading

ORA-Part II Order Request – Wanatango Falls GS Environmental Report, Frederick House River

4 November 2011


It is the position of ORA that this type of “modified peaking run-of-river” hydro-electric dam, in the form Xeneca is suggesting at Wanatango Falls, will have unacceptable environmental impacts, and does not contribute in any way to “the betterment of the people of the whole or any part of Ontario by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management in Ontario of the environment.”1

This Environmental Report (ER) is very lacking in several very important areas, such as inadequate consideration of the proposed facility’s potential residual effects on the environment, aquatic life and natural habitat, species at risk, public safety measures, and water quality. In addition, appropriate and necessary mitigation measures have frequently not been discussed, or were deferred; and no provision for decommissioning was even suggested. There has also been insufficient consideration of the cumulative effects, particularly the potential effects of this proposed new facility on fish migration, fish habitats, and additional turbine mortalities, when added to the existing effects of the upstream Frederick House Lake Dam (FHLD).  Moreover, insufficient or no scientific rationale was given for numerous statements throughout the report that there will be no residual or significant effects in numerous categories. The effects of climate change were barely even considered in this Report, or the future sustainability of this proposal, both economically and ecologically. This is of particular concern, as the effects of climate change are already upon us.


MOE response to Xeneca – The Chute – 9 March 2012
Miscellaneous – Minutes & Correspondence

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