Tag Archives: xeneca

River at Risk – Wanapitei River – Sturgeon Chute – Painting by Aleta Karstad

Sturgeon Chute, Upper Rapids (oil on canvas, 12 x 16 in.)

Aleta Karstad1 October finds me painting at the upstream rapids of Sturgeon Chute on the Wanapite River, 6.7 kilometres northwest of Hartley Bay. To get just the right angle on the rapids, screened by flaming leaves of an overhanging Red Maple, I’m standing on a narrow grassy ledge, the small of my back leaning against a cold wall of smooth granite, with the feet of my easel only a few centimetres from the edge. About two metres below, courses the fast deep water….  To read Aleta’s notes and purchase her paintings, click here to visit Aleta’s website.

For more information on Sturgeon Chute – click here.

 


Marter Township Generating Station Environmental Report – Blanche River – Part II Order Request

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

Excerpt:

“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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ORA Actions Have Significant Impact on Protection of Rivers

The-Chute-Second-Falls

Posted 8 March 2014

A number of environmentally harmful hydroelectric projects would likely be under construction by now if not for actions taken by ORA and our members.

In the fall of 2011, ORA was instrumental in a coordinated effort that resulted in three separate Environmental Reports (ERs) submitted by Xeneca Power Development Inc. (Xeneca)  being rejected by Ontario’s Ministry of Environment.  This was due to several deficiencies, as well as a “lack of traceability and transparency in Xeneca’s decision-making process and associated documentation”.  The developer was sent back to complete key studies and do more planning.  This rejection has led to another two years of studies, which has provided precious time for circumstances to influence some of their other proposals.  These ERs were three of a total of 19 proposals by Xeneca.

This was due to ORA and several of its members submitting Part II Order requests on hydro-electric proposals for the Ivanhoe, Frederick House and Serpent Rivers.  These were requests for the Minister of Environment to require an Individual Environmental Assessment (EA) for the projects.

Under current provincial legislation, Part II Order requests are the only option for the public and stakeholders to advocate for a more rigorous scrutiny of the proposal, and hopefully a more environmentally and socially sustainable hydroelectric project.

The proponent led process puts the fox in charge of the henhouse.  The proponent decides when to notify and consult with stakeholders, relay information, and share important documentation. Proponents don’t hesitate to let you know it’s a done deal, and that there is nothing you can do to stop the project.

Although requests to elevate the first three projects to individual EAs were not granted, these efforts did result in the proponent being required to conduct further studies. Not only did this delay the original three proposals, but it also caused Xeneca to shelve several other proposals that it had intended to issue Draft ERs on by the spring of 2012.  It has also provided time for the Department of National Defence to remove two waterpower sites on the Petawawa River.

This action by ORA and its members in 2011 bought valuable time for other events to transpire, and without this action, many of these proposals would most likely have been through the EA process by now, into the permitting phase, and under construction.

As of yet, none of Xeneca’s 19 intended projects have been approved by the Minister of Environment, and not one of the original three proposals has come back through to ER.

The first of Xeneca’s projects to make it through to the ER stage since then is the proposed Wabagishik Rapids Generating Station on the Vermilion River. In response to Xeneca’s ER and Notice of Completion in the fall of 2013, nineteen Part II Order requests were submitted to the MOE by ORA, Vermilion River Stewardship, and other concerned citizens. The large number of requests is in large part due to public awareness activities by ORA over the past few years. Currently, we are awaiting a response from the Minister regarding Wabagishik.

You can help ORA continue our work by becoming a member or making a contribution.  For more information click here.

 


Study Reveals Serious Potential for Heavy Metal Release from Hydro Facilities

Erik

Posted 8 March 2014

A recent study indicates that peaking facilities have serious potential to damage freshwater ecosystems, particularly in areas with heavy metal deposits from mining and industrial developments.  Based on the study, researcher Erik Szkokan-Emilson advised ORA in their preparation of a Part II Order request to the Minister of Environment regarding a proposed modified peaking hydroelectric facility at Wabagishik Rapids on the Vermilion River. Continue reading


Proposed Wabagishik Rapids GS – Part II Order Request – Submission to Minister Bradley

Wabagishik Rapids – Vermilion River

Excerpt:

“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


Wabagishik Rapids Generating Station – Environmental Report – ORA Part II Order request

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.”

Continue reading




ORA’s Concern over Arnold Chan’s Appointment to Kathleen Wynne’s Transition Team

Excerpt:

ORA would like to express our concern over the appointment of Arnold Chan, Vice President, Aboriginal Affairs and General Counsel for Xeneca Power Development Inc. (Xeneca) to your Transition Team.   Xeneca is currently awaiting the disposition of 33 waterpower proposals which are moving through the approvals process, 19 of which are pending completion of the Environmental Assessment (EA) process, and the remaining 14 awaiting Electrical Transmission Connection approval.   While Mr. Chan undoubtedly has valuable experience in government, his position with a company that is currently highly dependent on government approvals raises our concern.

Our concerns are well founded as Xeneca has earned a reputation amongst stakeholders, First Nations, Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Natural Resources staff of causing a lot of problems while trying to fast track through the EA process, and for not meeting its requirements under the Class EA.[1]  Arnold Chan’s appointment to your advisory team provides an opportunity to advance self-interests, and has the potential to undermine your attempts to build public confidence in the fairness and wisdom of this government’s decisions.   ORA objects to Mr. Chan’s appointment, and requests that it be cancelled.  At the very least his duties on your transition team must not include advice on issues that affect his business interests in the waterpower industry – although this will not remove the perception of a potential conflict of interest.

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