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Category Archives: River Concerns

Bala Falls Small Hydro Project – Permit to Take Water

Area just below the Falls

Since this project was first proposed, a large percentage of the community of Bala Falls have been opposed to it.  Citizens have lobbied, marched, picketed, petitioned and railed against this abomination being built in the heart of their town.  Immediately downstream of the dam is a favourite public swimming and picnic area that draws local residents and tourists from far and wide.  This project will pose a public safety risk; however, there is no Public Safety Plan – it wasn’t included in the initial Environmental Report, nor was it adequately addressed.  It was unacceptable in 2012, and it’s still unacceptable – it should never have been approved in the first place.

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Ivanhoe River & Frederick House River – MECP Decision on ORA’s Part II Order requests

After reviewing the Project documentation, the issues raised by the requesters, and the outstanding concerns of technical staff, the MECP has determined that the project has not met the requirements of the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects.

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Bill 66 – ERO 013-4234 – Repeal of the Toxics Reduction Act & ERO 013-4235 – Planning & reporting changes under Regs.

Pollution – website banner of toxic water as running from sewers to the environment

ORA submits that Schedule 5 of Bill 66 is a regressive, unwarranted and potentially risky proposal that is inconsistent with the public interest and does not adequately safeguard the health and safety of Ontarians. Does the MECP really want to set the stage for another Grassy Narrows mercury disaster? Instead, the MECP should be focusing on improving the TRA and its regulations to better protect communities.

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Speak out against Bill 66 – Schedules 5 and 10

The Government of Ontario is proposing Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. It is unacceptable that key environmental protection and legislation that protects the public is under attack.

Schedule 5 of Bill 66 would repeal the Toxics Reduction Act and two regulations. The purpose of the TRA is to prevent pollution and protect human health and the environment by reducing the use and creation of toxic substances and informing Ontarians about toxic substances. 

Schedule 10 of this Bill would enable municipalities to simply pass an “open-for-business planning by-law” under the Planning Act, to exempt local development from the application of key components of several important provincial laws, plans and policies, including the:
• Clean Water Act, 2006, Section 39
• Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, Section 20
• Greenbelt Act, 2005, Section 7
• Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008, Section 6, and 
• Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2003, Section 7  

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Proposal to establish a hunting season for double-crested cormorants in Ontario – ERO 013-4124

Nesting Double-Crested Cormorants – a wild native species in Ontario

This disturbing proposal would allow the killing of 50 cormorants per day from March 15 until December 31 each year, which would potentially mean the killing of more than 14,000 birds per hunter, per killing season.  Additionally, both members of a nesting pair are required for nesting success; therefore, the killing of either the male or female during the nesting season would result in their chicks starving to death. The government also proposes to amend the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to allow killed cormorants to be left to spoil, but suggests that if this proposal proceeds it may be accompanied by regulations to require retrieval and disposal of the carcasses.  This entire proposal is unacceptable, irresponsible and unjustified, and presents an increased risk to cottagers and recreational boaters and fishermen.

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Springbank Dam – One River Class EA – Preferred Alternative – Joint Submission

Springbank Dam, Thames River, London, ON

Our organizations recommend choosing Alternative 3 – the Full Removal of Springbank Dam and the naturalization of this section of the Thames River.   We submit that full dam removal and naturalization are the preferred solutions from an environmental perspective and would likely prove to be the most cost-effective over the long-term when Life-cycle costs and available provincial and federal funding are considered.

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Riverside Dam Class EA – Part II Order Request – ORA & Partners

The full Capital and Life Cycle Costs of Rebuilding Riverside Dam were not realistically represented in the ESR and could well end up costing the taxpayers more than double what was presented to the public and City Council.  A Rebuilt dam would be considered a new dam, not a repair or expansion of an existing weir, with an assessed High Hazard Potential, and is located within the City of Cambridge in a location that could place multiple residences and businesses at risk in the event of severe flooding or a dam breach.  ORA and Partners submit that this Project goes far beyond the screening process provided by a Schedule B, Class EA.  Consequently, we submit that this is a major project that should fall into a higher level of assessment.

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Impact Assessment Act – Project List, Information Requirements, Timelines

ORA has fully participated in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Process review and was very hopeful with this government’s promise to “rebuild public trust, protect the environment, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and ensure good projects get built…” While there are some encouraging components, such as requiring the Minister and Cabinet to provide reasons for environmental approvals and creating a single agency to conduct assessments, it is extremely disappointing that the proposed Impact Assessment Act (IAA) further undermines credibility and trust as well as its ability to protect the environment. It is a very flawed process when after going through years of application review and examination of science-based evidence, that the Minister could make a purely political decision and prioritize economic considerations over meeting climate commitments – as it is doing now with the Trans Mountain Pipeline. 

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