Blog

Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Category Archives: Climate Change

Hydropower is destroying our rivers, biodiversity and fueling Climate Change

Dams and hydropower facilities harm the environment and, when headponds or reservoirs are flooded, can produce carbon dioxide and methane for the life of the dam. Ontario is about to embark on a whole new era of dam building. Ontario has 224 operating hydropower plants and only 3 with fish passage.
By the way, Ontario Power Generation has been selling Clean Energy Credits for hydroelectric since 2013.   
NO MORE NEW HYDROELECTRIC DAMS IN ONTARIO!! 


ERO-019-6177 – Review of A Place to Grow and Provincial Policy Statement

Photo by Al Oman

The province claims that “Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now. That’s why the Ontario government is taking bold and transformative action to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.”  This Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) posting is only one component of a large series of other interconnected ERO postings relating to Bill 23. Due to the short comment period at this busiest time of year for such a complex, vague, poorly considered, and destructive policy and legislative “streamlining”, it is impossible to fully understand the full scope or depth of resulting effects to provide any kind of meaningful input. It is crucial that all ERO postings are well planned, concisely written and defined in clear policy language so the public fully understands what is being proposed and its potential positive and negative effects.

The Ontario government, through Bill 23 and its multitude of complex and interconnected legislation and policy amendments, has:

  • Removed municipal jurisdiction from upper-tier municipalities to make policy decisions on land use planning matters that are based on local community interests.
  • Removed a significant financial source (permits/building fees) in which to help pay for water and wastewater services, sewers, transportation infrastructure, and community parks needed to service 1.5 million additional homes.
  • Prohibited Conservation Authorities all across Ontario from providing practical advice to municipalities, their ability to issue permits, or provide input into environmental concerns.
  • Failed to provide adequate public and Indigenous consultation relating to Bill 23 matters.
  • Is proposing to streamline the qualifications program for Building Practitioners (ERO-019-6433).

Continue reading


Put nature at the centre of Canada’s Adaptation Strategy – Joint

Photo by Steven Noakes – West Credit River

As representatives of more than 90 organizations from across Canada, we are writing to urge you to put nature at the centre of Canada’s forthcoming National Adaptation Strategy.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt across the country, and we must all work together to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilient communities and ecosystems.

Continue reading


ERO 019-4971 – Draft Low Impact Development Stormwater Management Manual

Blue Heron in Waterloo, Ontario, by Leslie Bamford

The ORA is in full agreement that Low Impact Development (LID) must be a priority in development planning guidance for stormwater management practices and should include innovative green infrastructure such as rain harvesting, rain gardens, green roofs, urban trees and forests, permeable surfaces, ditches, swales, stormwater catchments, and must emphasize the protection of wetlands.

Continue reading


A Clean Electricity Standard in support of a net-zero electricity sector – Discussion Paper

When people refer to hydroelectric as clean, it’s usually in the context of GHG emissions; however, governments and utilities often use the term categorically and without caveat or qualification. Using the word “clean” in this context is misleading. Just because hydroelectric facilities are not spewing out smoke does not mean they are clean or renewable.  In fact, waterpower has resulted in significant and ongoing impacts on water quality, water quantity, ecological processes, fish and wildlife populations and habitat, and to aboriginal communities. Hydroelectric also makes a significant daily contribution to the earth’s accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere.

Continue reading


ERO-019-4978 – Subwatershed Planning Guide

The ORA is very supportive of policy and legislation that provides an ecosystem approach for planning at a watershed and subwatershed scale. It is essential that we ensure a healthy environment, with clean and abundant freshwater resources, that helps to provide resilience to the extremes of climate change.  We are appreciative of the information webinar on the Subwatershed Planning Guide, and the 45-day comment period.

Overall, we are generally supportive of the draft guidelines as they seem broad ranging and comprehensive.  We are especially pleased to see the partnership approach with Indigenous peoples included in the Guide and agree that this approach will lead to a much more comprehensive subwatershed plan.

Continue reading


ERO-019-3268 – Strengthening our Environmental Compliance Approach

West Credit River, Photo by Steve Noakes

The ORA offers strong support for polluters being held accountable; however, that isn’t what’s happening here.  Rather than strengthening enforcement tools that hold polluters accountable, this government is systematically and persistently dismantling, weakening or bypassing all environmental policy and legislation that was designed to protect the environment and deter those industries, corporations or individuals who would pollute and/or destroy the environment.

These ERO postings consistently mislead the public, especially in the top several paragraphs and titles, which contain misleading introductions to the proposed policy the government is proposing.  In fact, you can always count on these “modernization” policy changes to be a further attack on environmental policy and legislation. It is even more despicable that these attacks have largely been carried out during the government’s declared COVID Emergency, where no public consultation is required, and what consultation that does take place is meaningless when the main objective is to cut red tape and remove any roadblocks to development and pollution, in spite of the public’s strong recommendations to protect the environment.

Continue reading


Erin WWTP – Concerns over Brook Trout and Fish Habitat on the West Credit River

Redds just below culvert.

To confirm our position that the habitat within the culvert is not degraded and supports Brook Trout throughout the year, we draw your attention to a video by Steven Noakes, a local videographer, entitled, Brook Trout fry at proposed outfall location Erin WWTP, taken on the 30th of April 2021 in and around the culvert at the proposed effluent discharge site. The video confirms that Brook Trout fry are abundant in and around the culvert and demonstrates that the culvert habitat is not degraded, removing any question that it supports Brook Trout. In addition, Brook Trout spawning activity occurs a short distance above and below the culvert, where redds are abundant within 75 to 100m of it. There is no question that this area supports Brook Trout in various life stages.

Continue reading


Media Release: Town of Erin pays only $2 for 5 Hectares of Prime Real Estate?

Brook Trout fry, Photo by Steve Noakes

ERIN: Mayor Alls of Erin boasted, “I can reach in my pocket and pay for it” when the Town of Erin announced the purchase of 5 Hectares of land for $2 – land with an estimated value of $210,000 in the Environmental Study Report (ESR). 

Environmental lawyer David Donnelly spoke to the more than 300 people attending the March 25th virtual meeting to discuss the impact of the proposed Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant on dumping 7.2 million liters of sewage effluent daily into West Credit River Brook Trout habitat. 

Continue reading


Concerns over Brook Trout and Fish Habitat on the West Credit River

West Credit River. Photo by Steve Noakes.

The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) strongly disagrees with your response to our numerous concerns and recommendations when you assert that you “have concluded that temperature effects have been adequately assessed using field data, a nearby wastewater treatment plant’s effluent temperature data, and CORMIX – a state-of-the-art mixing model”. Your response totally ignored a key issue we raised that will impact on every aspect of stream health and Brook Trout survival, both over the short term and into the future. 

Continue reading