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Category Archives: Rivers at Risk

Media Release: Wastewater Treatment Plant Spells Doom for West Credit Brook Trout – Request for a federal review under the Impact Assessment Act

The Coalition for the West Credit River is calling on Johnathan Wilkinson, (Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada) for a federal review of the Environmental Study Report (ESR) for the Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant (Erin WWTP), under the Impact Assessment Act.

The Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant (Erin WWTP) will discharge over 7 million litres of effluent daily, releasing a toxic plume of chloride, ammonia and decreased oxygen into the West Credit River, directly upstream of native Brook Trout spawning nursery and habitat, and endangered Redside Dace.

Please sign the Cut the Crap, Keep the Credit petition.

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ERO-019-2826, Statement of Environmental Values for the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks

If the SEV is not being taken seriously now, why would we believe it will be taken seriously when this new SEV is adopted? The MECP should respect and fulfill its SEV in all areas of its purpose, which is its promise to Ontario taxpayers. Rather than focusing so heavily on the economy the MECP must apply its SEV in the protection and conservation of the environment. 

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Coalition concerns over Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant

Our concerns are well documented in the attached Briefing Notes report, which has been prepared by our Coalition in the process of requesting a federal review under the Impact Assessment Act.

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Trout Lake River GS – Dannenmann to MECP

The Trout Lake River has since time before memory been out travel route to and from Lac Seul and other places south. That river system is still a travel route. The river is full of wild rice fields, medicines, and other relations who thrive in the interdependence of this water system. The Trout Lake River meets with the Chukuni River and both then flow into the English River. Downstream of the English River are two communities, Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong First Nation. These two communities have already been devastated by the presence of methyl-mercury in the water and in their local food sources. I am sure that you are aware of their ongoing efforts to have the river cleaned up and for their people to be given proper medical care for having been poisoned by this polluted river.

You will find all the submissions made by ORA and our members here.

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Reject Schedules 6 and 8 of Bill 229 to Protect Conservation Authorities and Species at Risk

Bill 229 is just the most recent in a long list of omnibus bills containing devastating amendments, exemptions and streamlining of key environmental policy and legislation designed to protect our environment and communities and provide the public and stakeholders with meaningful input.  These government actions have created a deep erosion of public trust and confidence.  It is unacceptable that it would mislead its citizens and bypass the norms by taking advantage of a world-wide health emergency to aggressively push their destructive agenda through.

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Exempting dams from requiring a Permit to Take Water – ERO-019-2517

Melville Dam, Credit River, breached on 26 June 2017

ORA submits that the MECP’s priority must be the pursuit of its Statement of Environmental Values (SEV), and its vision and mandate of “an Ontario with clean and safe air, land and water that contributes to healthy communities, ecological protection, and environmentally sustainable development for present and future generations[i].  There is nothing in the MECP’s SEV that promises to “remove the regulatory burden” from industry or “provide some cost savings for dam owners and operators”.  It is not the MECP’s duty to save dam owners and operators money or ease their regulatory burden. Its duty is to fulfill its Mandate to protect the environment and to follow its promise of environmentally sustainable development for our present and future generations.  Certainly, MECP’s priority should not be to cut regulatory burden at the expense of our air, land and water.  It is a tragedy that today’s cost savings for dam owners and operators will be borne on the backs of our children and grandchildren.

[i] Statement of Environmental Values: Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

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Issuance of Minister’s Zoning Orders – 96 Organizations Strongly Opposed

Wetlands are among the most productive and diverse habitats on Earth. They provide incalculable benefits for communities, including flood mitigation, water filtration, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, wild foods and medicines, recreational opportunities and more. They are also of immense economic value. For example, wetlands can reduce the financial costs of floods by up to 38 percent; in the Great Lakes region the benefits provided by wetlands are worth 13 to 35 times more than the cost of protecting or restoring them; and in southern Ontario alone wetlands provide over $14 billion dollars in benefits every year.

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Proposed Comprehensive Project List under the EAA – ERO-019-2377

While the effects of large hydro projects (200 MW) have been well known and documented for over a century, small (up to 10 MW) and medium sized (10 MW to 200 MW) hydroelectric projects involve many of the same impacts per unit of power generated and, cumulatively, the environmental degradation can exceed that of large hydro projects.  Small and medium sized hydro projects are situated on smaller and often more sensitive riverine ecosystems; however, like large hydro projects, will also alter the river’s flow regime and can have significant impacts on the aquatic environment, as flow is a major determinant of a river’s ecological characteristics and its aquatic biodiversity.

A recent study examined scaled hydropower impacts in the Nu River basin of southwestern China, where the researchers calculated impact per MW of capacity across 14 metrics between small and large hydropower projects (with small being below 50 MW as defined in Chinese policy).  They found that small hydropower dams had greater impact per MW for 9 of the 14 metrics, including length of river channel affected and impact on habitat designated as conservation priorities.

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Media Release: Concerns over Brook Trout in the West Credit River

Brook trout spawning in a coldwater stream.  Film by Steve Noakes

Articles:
Groups concerned about Erin’s proposed plant effect on coldwater fish, by Keegan Kozolanka
Ontario Rivers Alliance says town has ‘dismissed’ plans to protect Credit River brook trout from Erin wastewater plant, by Alexandra Heck

The Town of Erin (Erin) is in the design phase of a new sewage treatment plant, and the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is concerned that the sewage plant effluent will endanger some of the most productive and highly valued brook trout populations in the West Credit River. Continue reading


Trout Lake River Hydroelectric Generating Station, at Big Falls – Update from 2013

In May of 2013 the Ontario Rivers Alliance made a Part II Order request on the proposed Trout Lake River Hydroelectric Generating Station, at Big Falls, in the Red Lake area.   This proposal seemed to die a natural death with no decision  on our Part II request, or activity/movement forward on the project.  Here we are now more than 7 years later, and last week we received the correspondence below from the MECP stating that

“As part of our government’s efforts to boost Ontario’s economic recovery after COVID- 19, we have passed the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020, including amendments to the Environmental Assessment Act.

The changes to the Environmental Assessment Act will allow us to build a strong environmental assessment program that effectively considers the input of local communities and focuses on projects that have the highest impact to the environment. The Act will continue to consider “the protection, conservation and wise management in Ontario of the environment”. A key change made to the Environmental Assessment Act was to limit Part II Order requests to potential adverse impacts of projects to constitutionally protected Aboriginal or treaty rights. All Part II Order requests that were under review which do not pertain to potential adverse impacts on constitutionally protected Aboriginal or treaty rights have been terminated by the amendments.”

The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act was passed earlier this year, and this legislative amendment is retroactive in its backwards reach to 2013.  In spite of the government’s misleading claim that the changes to the EAA “will allow us to build a strong environmental assessment program”, it couldn’t be further from the truth.   In fact, there is now no mechanism to request a more rigorous environmental assessment, and public consultation and consideration on these risky projects, as well as the ability to make a Part II Order request, is no longer a possibility.  There was also no public or Indigenous consultation before the passing of the Economic Recovery Act.

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