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Four Slide Falls, Serpent River – Proposed Hydroelectric GS – Notice of Commencement of an Environmental Assessment

NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT

of an Environmental Assessment

Four Slide Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station in Serpent River (Xeneca Power Development)

Serpent River (ON)

September 22, 2011 (Updated September 22, 2011) — Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are required to ensure that a screening is conducted commencing on September 15, 2011 in relation to the development proposal: Four Slide Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station in Serpent River (Xeneca Power Development).

The proposed Four Slide Falls hydroelectric development will be operated as a “modified run-of-river” facility that is capable of holding water back to be used during peak hours with an output of 7.3 MW from a gross head of 28.5 m. The facility will consist of a 137.5 m concrete main dam and a 140 m long concrete auxiliary dam. The dam will direct flow from the river to an intake connected to a penstock approximately 163 m in length to convey water to the powerhouse located on the west side of the river. Continue reading


McCarthy Chute Hydroelectric GS, Serpent River – Notice of Commencement of an Environmental Assessment

NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT

of an Environmental Assessment

McCarthy Chute Hydroelectric Generating Station, Xeneca Power Development

McCarthy Lake (ON)

September 29, 2011 — Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are required to ensure that a screening is conducted commencing on September 28, 2011 in relation to the development proposal: McCarthy Chute Hydroelectric Generating Station, Xeneca Power Development.

The proposed McCarthy Chute hydroelectric development will be operated as a run-of-river with modified peaking facility. The proposed generating station will have an output of 2.0 MW from a gross head of 7.0 m and will consist of a 62 m long concrete dam that incorporates a 31 m wide spillway and 8 m wide powerhouse. Continue reading


Kapuskasing River – Notice of Commencement of an Environmental Assessment

NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT

of an Environmental Assessment

Hydroelectric Development, Kapuskasing River, Buchan Township

Kapuskasing River (ON)

June 24, 2011 — Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada are required to ensure that a screening is conducted commencing on May 6, 2011 in relation to the development proposal: Hydroelectric Development, Kapuskasing River, Buchan Township.

Xeneca Power Development Inc. is proposing to construct and operate four hydroelectric generating stations on the Kapuskasing River at Kapuskasing Lake Outlet, Buchanan Falls, Clouston Rapids and Cedar Rapids between the towns of Elsas and Kapuskasing and would be operated as four run-of-river facilities with provisions for modified peaking. The Kapuskasing Lake Outlet project would involve the construction of an 85 m long concrete spillway, with a 10 m long side abutment, a 62 m long central abutment and a 16 m wide intake structure and would result in the flooding of approximately 1.3 ha of riparian lands. The proposed project would connect to the Buchanan Falls site via a new 44 kV power line. Access to the proposed site would require construction of a 6 km long road. The Lapinigam Rapids project at Buchanan Falls would involve the construction of a 215 m long spillway dam and a 23 m wide intake structure and would result in the flooding of approximately 6.3 ha of riparian lands. The proposed project would connect to the Middle Townships site at Clouston Rapids via a new 44 kV power line. Access to the proposed site would require construction of a 9 km long road. The Middle Township Buchanan project at Clouston Rapids would involve the construction of a single dam incorporating a 46 m long earth-filled abutment, the powerhouse, which has a footprint of 35 m long by 13 m wide, and a 90 m long roller compacted concrete spillway section. All 44 kV feeder lines from the other four sites converge at this location. A common 44 or 115 kV line will connect to the Ivanhoe River- Third Falls line, and subsequently to the Weston Lake DS, then onward to Circuit T61S, Tower 217. Access to the proposed Middle Township site would require construction of a 7 km long road. The Near North Boundary project at Cedar Rapids would involve the construction of a single dam incorporating a 23 m long earth-filled abutment, the powerhouse, which has a footprint of 35 m long by 10 m wide, and a 95 m long spillway section and would result in the flooding of approximately 1.6 ha of riparian lands. The proposed project would connect to the Middle Townships site at Clouston Rapids via a new 44 kV power line. Access to the proposed site would require construction of a 9 km long road. Continue reading


ORA Response to Xeneca – Proposed Four Slide Falls GS – Serpent River

September 29, 2011:

Excerpt:

Xeneca’s response letter is yet another example of a tendency to generalize, undervalue, gloss over, and leave out important details, and only confirms Xeneca’s lack of vigilance and adherence to the spirit and intent of the EA process.

Xeneca responds, “This approach to document handling is in accordance with the Waterpower Class EA process.” To date Xeneca staff has not been able to direct ORA to the exact section of this document where this policy is outlined.

If Xeneca wishes to engage ORA, then it needs to demonstrate a willingness to cooperate, to share information, and show respect for the objectives of the EA process, and for ORA. It has been the experience of this writer that Xeneca has used whatever administrative and/or regulatory means at its disposal, to avoid sharing vital documents that should be readily available to stakeholders and the public.

ORA’s Part II Order request to the Minister of Environment stands as supported in our letter dated September 28, 2011.”

Continue reading


ORA Part II Order Request – Addition – Proposed Four Slide Falls GS – Serpent River

September 29, 2011

Excerpt:

On further examination of the ER and supporting documentation for the proposed Four Slide Falls, Serpent River GS, it has also come to our attention that A Annex – Hydrology Review, submitted by Hatch Inc., dated January 2010, contained a few other interesting facts:

  1. The “Report Disclaimer” states, “the report is based on information made available to Hatch by the Client or by certain third parties; and unless stated otherwise in the Agreement, Hatch has not verified the accuracy, completeness or validity of such information, makes no representation regarding its accuracy and hereby disclaims any liability in connection therewith.”1 Xeneca has provided the information and Hatch has not verified its accuracy or completeness, and disclaims any liability.

Note: ORA submits this Hydrology Review is not for this proposal but for a previous proposal, and has no value or validity. Xeneca must supply a project specific Hydrology Review for this current proposal.

  1. The Hydrology Review contained in this ER states “The Run-of-River plants proposed for the Serpent River hydropower sites must use river flows as they arrive, without the use of reservoir storage to regulate flows.”2

Note: This Report is for a run-of-river operation in a totally different location on the Serpent River, so what possible value could this report hold for this ER on this specific site chosen at Four Slide Falls? Why was there no hydrology report prepared for a modified peaking run-of- river dam in its present location at Four Slide Falls? Continue reading


ORA Part II Order Request – Proposed Four Slide Falls GS – Serpent River

September 28, 2011:

Excerpt:

It is the position of the ORA that hydro-electric generation, in the form Xeneca is suggesting at Four Slides, 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 The ER is very lacking in several extremely important areas, such as inadequate public and First Nation consultation, incomplete field studies, and proper considerations for the effects of climate change. After carefully reviewing the information as presented, the cumulative effects of this proposal would unnecessarily place the people of the Serpent River Community at risk, as well as the fish populations of Picors Lake and McCarthy Lake, and create a zone of influence that would have devastating effects on the entire riverine ecosystem, both upstream and downstream of Four Slide Falls. In light of this, and in response to our concerns listed in detail below, ORA is requesting a Part II Order be issued to elevate this proposal to an Individual Environmental Assessment. Continue reading


ORA Comments to Xeneca – Four Slide Falls, Serpent River

2011, September 22:

Summary:

The CEAA, 4.(2) states, “In the administration of this Act, the Government of Canada, the Minister, the Agency and all bodies to the provisions of this Act, including federal authorities and responsible authorities, shall exercise their powers in a manner that protects the environment and human health and applies the precautionary principle.”

Four Slide GS Environmental Assessment Report is incomplete as there are still field studies to be completed, and public consultations that must take place, before approval should be granted. For the many reasons listed above, this type of “modified peaking run-of-river” hydro-electric dam is very harmful to a riverine ecosystem, both upstream and downstream; and when you have two or more dams on one river, the negative cumulative effects are only amplified, and must always be considered together as one.

In order to meet the intent and spirit of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act, the ORA requests that Xeneca meet their legal obligations under this legislation, and address the proposed Four Slide Falls GS, and McCarthy Chute GS, under one Environmental Assessment Report, and also take into account the existing Camp Lake Serpent River GS and Serpent River First Nation GS.

The cumulative effects of all facilities, water management practices, roads, transmission lines, diversions, as well as all resulting “Identified Residual Effects”, must be considered with a precautionary approach in order to protect the well-being of the Serpent River community, the environment, and the riverine ecosystem; and to comply with the EAA and the CEAA. These types of proposals must not be fast tracked, or policy and procedure skipped – there is too much at stake!

The experience of the ORA and the public in our dealings with Xeneca, has been challenging to say the least, and yet we have asked Xeneca to show their willingness to be cooperative by providing the ER reports in an unsecured format to aid in our commenting. However, not only have unsecured documents not been provided, but shortly after ORA informed Xeneca of our intent to comment on the Four Slide Falls GS ER, Xeneca demonstrated its unwillingness to cooperate by withdrawing information from the Serpent River ER. Appendix D and E were removed from Xeneca’s website and replaced with reduced versions, where

  • Appendix D, Public Consultation – Xeneca removed 78 pdf pages; and
  • Appendix E, Aboriginal Consultation – Xeneca removed 38 pdf pages.

Profits should never be maximized at the expense of the health and well-being of the community, or the riverine ecosystem. Continue reading


The Ecosystem Approach to Valuing Economic Resources

The physical environment has a profound effect on the way in which we live our daily lives. Environmental resources have huge value both in and of their own right, and because of the direct benefits that they provide humans. Often the need for economic development and the preservation of environmental quality appear to be in competition with each other, particular when ‘economic’ development is narrowly defined as ‘financial’ development. There is growing recognition in global governance that when the full value of the environment is considered, rather than just the part that can easily be measured in monetary terms, governments tend to approve different types of development projects. In 2001 the United Nations began a comprehensive assessment of the consequence of ecosystem change on human well-being. They concluded that governments should work to ensure that the negative trade-offs between economic development and environmental degradation were minimized and that governments actively seek synergies between environmental and economic outcomes.

One tangible way to implement these recommendations in policy making is by using an ecosystem services approach to environmental valuation. This allows you to explicitly recognize and value the broad range of benefits that we and future generations receive from the environment. Traditional assessments of environmental value are often restricted to a consideration of the ‘use value’ of an environmental asset – for example how much hydroelectric revenue could be generated by damming a river – whilst ignoring the broad range of benefits that would result from leaving the river undammed. These benefits include the opportunity to undertake alternative development projects in the future (‘option value’), and a wide range of ‘non-use values’ including the importance of bequeathing a good quality environment to future generations, explicitly recognizing the cultural importance of the natural environment, particularly in our Aboriginal communities, and also the important role played by healthy and resilient ecosystem in mediating severe weather events. Continue reading


Whitewater Ontario – Position Statement – Petawawa River

To: DFO – CEA Registry Office -Central & Arctic Region – Ontario Area

To: Mark Holmes / Uwe Roeper, Xeneca Power Development Inc.

To: Kelly Thompson, A/Manager, Navigable Waters Protection, Transport Canada

To: Joanna Samson, Water Resources Coordinator, Ministry of Natural Resources – Pembroke

Cc: Vanessa Enskaitis, Petawawa River Rats, Mayor of Petawawa Bob Sweet, Community Alliance to Save the Petawawa, Whitewater Ontario Members

May 20, 2011

Re: CEAA Registry Number: 11-01-61006 Big Eddy Hydro Project on the Petawawa River.

Whitewater Ontario (WO) is a volunteer-driven organization uniting, supporting, and sustaining the inclusive development of the whitewater paddling community and resources. Our diverse membership of over 400 includes recreational paddlers, high performance slalom athletes, open boaters, and freestyle competitors.  While our membership is diverse and representative of many whitewater disciplines, members of Whitewater Ontario share a common belief about river access and the preservation of existing waterways for current and future generations.  Our membership encompasses both current and future users of the Petawawa River for recreational purposes, including but not limited to navigation.

USAGE

The Petawawa River, as it flows through the Town of Petawawa is a well-known, world-class destination for whitewater boating enthusiasts.  It provides a training facility for our Olympic athletes, as well as many members of the Canadian kayak and canoeing teams.  Informal data gathering has been able to identify approximately 5000 person trips per year; by recreational boaters, for commercial rafting, by competitive athletes and by community groups such as the Boy Scouts of Canada, the YMCA Canoe Camping Club and the Alpine Club of Canada. The river also provides a training ground for members of the Canadian Forces.  Read More.


CASP to Xeneca – Petawawa River, Big Eddy

September 15, 2011

Xeneca Power Development Inc.
Attention: Mr. Patrick Gillette
President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Gillette:

This letter is a follow-up to the following two pieces of correspondence sent previously by this organisation:

1. “Questions Pertaining to the Big Eddy Generating Station” transmitted by email on February 3, 2011; and

2. “Concern with your company’s implementation of the Class Environmental Assessment process on the Big Eddy small waterpower project”, dated February 22, 2011.

You responded to the first of these pieces of correspondence after a fashion in the document “Frequently Asked Questions: Proposed Big Eddy Project at Railroad Rapids”, posted on your website around May 31, 2011. The second item has only received a brief form email acknowledging receipt.

Since the description of the project has changed quite a bit since early this year, and some of our earlier concerns are no longer applicable, we felt it might be useful to update these earlier pieces of correspondence in the light of our current understanding of the project.

Questions:

Continue reading