20 April 2012
The Honourable James J. Bradley
Minister of the Environment
77 Wellesley Street West
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto, ON M7A 2T5
Dear Minister Bradley,
Re: Bala Falls Proposed Hydroelectric Generating Station – Swift River
Ontario Rivers Alliance (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 CPAWS-Ottawa Valley, Friends of Temagami, Paddle Canada, Whitewater Ontario, along with many stewardships, associations, and private and First Nations citizens, who have come together to ensure the rash of waterpower proposals currently going through the approvals process are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.
In our democratic society, policy and process is important. And the guidelines for the environmental assessment specifically state that an “open and transparent” process be used, and that there is an “accountable, logical and reproducible process of decision making”.
ORA has been following the developments for the proposed generating station at the Bala Falls, and from the information we have received, the Ministry of the Environment is not following its own required procedures. For example, the proponent’s political lobbyist should not be allowed to meet with the Ministry of the Environment’s decision-making officials during the decision-making process.
Also, Swift River has told the public they are no longer pursuing the plan which has been the subject of all of their environmental assessment information, and instead will be proposing some new plan. We understand this new plan would be significantly different from anything previously shown to the public, and therefore, we request that the developer be required to submit a new and complete environmental screening report, and this be preceded by a public meeting in a forum format, where the public can openly ask questions of the developer about the actual plan being proposed.
The environmental assessment process invites and encourages the public to engage and participate, but this can only happen if there is trust and confidence, and if the process is seen as being fair and open. At this point, the only way this can occur is if the proponent is required to begin their environmental assessment again and make the entire process clear, open, and transparent.
ORA looks forward to your response!
Chair, Ontario Rivers Alliance
Cc: The Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario – DMcGuinty.email@example.com
The Honourable Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources – Minister.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Honourable Christopher Bentley, Minister of Energy, email@example.com
Adam Sanzo, MOE – Adam.Sanzo@ontario.ca
Agatha Garcia-Wright, MOE – Agatha.GarciaWright@ontario.ca
Norm Miller, MPP – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitchell Schneir, Save The Bala Falls – Mitchell@Shnier.com