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Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Springbank Dam Decommissioning – Update

Photo by Paul Roedding Photography

Since early in 2016, the Ontario Rivers Alliance, Thames River Anglers Association and several other partners have advocated for the removal of the Springbank Dam on the Thames River.  We are happy to report that the City of London is moving forward with its decommissioning.

A Consulting Engineer will be chosen to complete the detailed design for its decommissioning as per the recommendations outlined in the completed One River Environmental Assessment, with an aim for construction in 2021.  We are looking forward to the project moving forward in 2021!

We will keep you informed as the project progresses.


ORA Support for the East Branch Weir Removal Project, Eramosa River

Conceptual illustration, by Linda Hendry

The East Branch Weir Removal Project on the Eramosa River is moving ahead.  We are pleased to report that all funding is in place, and the Project will be complete within a few days.  An excellent outcome for the East Channel and for the community.

The Save the East Channel group and ORA worked with the Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association (EMERCA) to find an environmentally sustainable solution that would improve flow and connectivity in the East Channel.

Follow the links below for additional information about the project:
Community Group Planning Eramosa River Naturalization Project, Wellington Adviser, 7 Aug. 2020
EMERCA Facebook Page:  Facebook.com/EdenMillsERCA

ORA provided a letter of support for the EMERCA grant application for the Project’s funding – see below:

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Update: Riverside Dam on the Speed River

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.

Articles:
Riverside Dam construction delayed to 2022 with higher price tag, CBC News, 8 Sept 2020
Cambridge Council gives go-ahead to plan for Riverside repairs, CTV News, 8 Sept 2020


Ontario–Recycling is the Last Resort – Joint

“Recycling” by andyarthur is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Ontarians may have invented the Blue Box, but our current linear, make-use-dispose economy makes it impossible for recycling alone to solve our growing waste problem. Currently, less than seven per cent of Ontario’s waste is recycled through the Blue Box, and 1 the province sends over 8 million tonnes (70 per cent)2 of trash to landfills and incinerators every year.

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Bill 197 & Proposed Major Amendments to the Class EA for Waterpower

Instead of exemptions or a more streamlined Class EAW, the OWA should be proposing amendments to provide for a much more rigorous and accountable process that ensures fish friendly turbines, effective and safe fish passage, a more rigorous cumulative effects assessment, and a more comprehensive and meaningful consultation process.  We should be making our rivers more resilient in the face of climate change – not exempting waterpower projects from the Class EAW.  Instead, the OWA and the Ontario government are placing our environment and communities at risk.

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ERO-019-1080 – Proposed changes to environmental approvals for municipal sewage collection works

The ORA strongly objects to any approach that eliminates the opportunity for public and Indigenous consultation and input regarding any sewage and stormwater infrastructure projects, especially any expansions or upgrades when they could have a negative environmental impact on the riverine environment and communities.

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Amendment to the Growth Plan to allow aggregate extraction in the Greater Golden Horseshoe – Joint

We, the 85 undersigned organizations, are writing to express our strong opposition to the proposed amendment to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) which would end the prohibition on aggregate extraction within the habitat of threatened and endangered species throughout the region’s Natural Heritage System.

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Nature conservation should be central to Canada’s recovery from Covid-19 – Joint

As we all work to emerge from this unprecedented disruption, our 235 organizations and millions of supporters want to emphasize that investments in nature and biodiversity on our lands and in our ocean can create jobs and be an essential part of an economic recovery and a sustainable future. Canada is in a particularly strong position to lead global efforts in this regard.  We support your commitments to increase protection of lands, freshwater, and ocean, embrace nature-based climate solutions, and urge you to invest in achieving these outcomes.

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Updates: Howson Dam, North Maitland River

The motion, presented on Monday night, suggested by the committee calls for North Huron Council to approve an engineering study to determine the future of the dam and set out a schedule for fundraising for the rehabilitation of the structure. If that schedule cannot be met, however, the recommendation calls for the removal of the structure.

Articles:
North Huron Council approves engineering study on Howson Dam, 9 July 2020
‘It’s going to be black or white’: North Huron council approves funding Howson Dam committee to speak to engineers, experts, 9 July 2020


The Problem with Hydropower – Damnation Trailer

Ontario has hundreds, if not thousands of dams that are unsafe and no longer serving any useful purpose.  These dams are blocking fish passage, degrading water quality, fragmenting habitat, threatening species at risk and sensitive cold water species.   ORA is working to take them out.  Check out this excellent overview of the problems with hydropower:

This film explores the evolution of our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of wild rivers. Produced by Matt Stoecker & Travis Rummel Directed by Ben Knight & Travis Rummel.