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.
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.
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.
In September of 2016, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) received a Feed-in-Tariff Power Procurement Contract from the IESO to sell power to the grid. In June 2017, the GRCA initiated a Class Environmental Assessment to evaluate the construction of a waterpower project, the Parkhill Hydro Generating Station located at the existing Parkhill Dam in the City of Cambridge. If approved and constructed, this waterpower project would have a nameplate capacity of 500 kW. The project is subject to the provisions of the Ontario Waterpower Association “Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects.” Pursuant to the Class EA, this project is considered to be associated with existing infrastructure. Continue reading
The American Eel Needs Your Help! You have an opportunity to support the recovery of a species that has declined by 99% of its original population, has been completely extirpated from extensive areas of its native Ontario range, and is in steep decline where it still exists. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has prepared a Draft Government Response Station for the Recovery of the American Eel in Ontario, and you have until January 11th to sign the Petition below. More information can be found here. To add your own comments just click on the letter and type. Thank you for your help! Continue reading
The Ministry of Energy is undertaking a formal review of Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP), and comments were due on 16 December 2016.
The LTEP is a road map that will set the direction for Ontario’s energy future over the next 20 years. More information on this EBR posting can be found here.
The Ministry of Energy must ensure that our electricity supply is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and affordable.
The Chair of the Ontario Rivers Alliance presented to the Expert Panel on the Review of the Environmental Assessment Process, on Thursday, 3 November 2016, in Sudbury, and also made a detailed written submission below:
Our experience in Ontario is that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans defer to the will of the provincial regulators, which should be the other way around. We need our federal government to set a high standard that will be followed by the provincial players. Both the federal and provincial governments have gone through an intensive streamlining process which has undermined confidence in their ability to effectively review applications and Environmental Reports, let alone adequately monitor and enforce the conditions of approvals. Consequently, environmental protections have become very lacking in these streamlined and broken processes.
Today I am writing to draw your attention to an issue that was quite concerning. Rather than make an Application for Review under the Environmental Bill of Rights, I am reaching out to you in the hopes that you will withdraw a recent amendment to the FIT 5 Rules. Continue reading
The Ministry of Energy has included hydroelectric in its renewable energy mix, and the generous rates and peaking bonuses have encouraged a rash of new hydro facilities to be proposed, as well as upgrades and changes to operating strategies that allow facilities to hold water back from downstream flow in order to produce power during peak demand hours. Many power producers arbitrarily adjust their operating strategy by using seasonal operating bands to peak on a daily basis – without first conducting an environmental assessment to determine the potential impacts, or the sustainability of the operation.