Category Archives: Serpent River

ORA Celebrates 10 years of Service to Ontario Rivers

A presentation made by the Chair of ORA:

A presentation made by the Chair at ORA’s 16 October 2021 Annual General Meeting:

Continue reading

Terminated FIT Contracts

The Ontario Rivers Alliance filed a Freedom of Information Application with the IESO in February of 2016 to obtain the following list of terminated Feed-in-Tariff Contracts: Continue reading

10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects

Wabagishik Rapids – Vermilion River

Update: In the end, ORA and our membership stopped 24 projects on 12 rivers.

MEDIA RELEASE:  For Immediate Release:  13 July 2016

10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects

SUDBURY:  The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is celebrating a major victory in the protection of 10 Ontario rivers that have been under threat from 19 proposed hydroelectric projects.   Actions taken by the ORA and its members have led to what was considered to be impossible – the termination of 19 Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Contracts.

In 2011, ORA came into being to address a rash of 87 proposed hydroelectric proposals initiated under the Green Energy Act.  The offer of generous incentives to produce power during peak demand hours had proponents rushing to claim access to falls and rapids on rivers all across the province.  The number of proposals to actually receive FIT Contracts was soon reduced to 41, and of those, Xeneca Power Development Inc. had secured 19 contracts for projects involving 23 Crown sites on 10 Ontario rivers. Continue reading

Pecors Power – Serpent River

Pecors Power is proposing to develop a 2 MW Installed Capacity (IC) hydroelectric waterpower facility on the Serpent River, between Whiskey Lake and Pecors Lake.   With limiting seasonal flows waterpower generally produces 50% of IC, therefore, this project will more likely produce 1 MW of power.

Details of the Proposal, and electronic files of the Notice of Commencement, Project Description and public consultation plan are available for download below.

This undertaking is being assessed under the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects (April 2012) planning process.  As part of the environmental assessment planning process, public consultation is intended to allow those with a potential interest in the project to contribute and inform decisions. Continue reading

ORA Actions Have Significant Impact on Protection of Rivers


Posted 8 March 2014

A number of environmentally harmful hydroelectric projects would likely be under construction by now if not for actions taken by ORA and our members.

In the fall of 2011, ORA was instrumental in a coordinated effort that resulted in three separate Environmental Reports (ERs) submitted by Xeneca Power Development Inc. (Xeneca)  being rejected by Ontario’s Ministry of Environment.  This was due to several deficiencies, as well as a “lack of traceability and transparency in Xeneca’s decision-making process and associated documentation”.  The developer was sent back to complete key studies and do more planning.  This rejection has led to another two years of studies, which has provided precious time for circumstances to influence some of their other proposals.  These ERs were three of a total of 19 proposals by Xeneca.

This was due to ORA and several of its members submitting Part II Order requests on hydro-electric proposals for the Ivanhoe, Frederick House and Serpent Rivers.  These were requests for the Minister of Environment to require an Individual Environmental Assessment (EA) for the projects.

Under current provincial legislation, Part II Order requests are the only option for the public and stakeholders to advocate for a more rigorous scrutiny of the proposal, and hopefully a more environmentally and socially sustainable hydroelectric project.

The proponent led process puts the fox in charge of the henhouse.  The proponent decides when to notify and consult with stakeholders, relay information, and share important documentation. Proponents don’t hesitate to let you know it’s a done deal, and that there is nothing you can do to stop the project.

Although requests to elevate the first three projects to individual EAs were not granted, these efforts did result in the proponent being required to conduct further studies. Not only did this delay the original three proposals, but it also caused Xeneca to shelve several other proposals that it had intended to issue Draft ERs on by the spring of 2012.  It has also provided time for the Department of National Defence to remove two waterpower sites on the Petawawa River.

This action by ORA and its members in 2011 bought valuable time for other events to transpire, and without this action, many of these proposals would most likely have been through the EA process by now, into the permitting phase, and under construction.

As of yet, none of Xeneca’s 19 intended projects have been approved by the Minister of Environment, and not one of the original three proposals has come back through to ER.

The first of Xeneca’s projects to make it through to the ER stage since then is the proposed Wabagishik Rapids Generating Station on the Vermilion River. In response to Xeneca’s ER and Notice of Completion in the fall of 2013, nineteen Part II Order requests were submitted to the MOE by ORA, Vermilion River Stewardship, and other concerned citizens. The large number of requests is in large part due to public awareness activities by ORA over the past few years. Currently, we are awaiting a response from the Minister regarding Wabagishik.

You can help ORA continue our work by becoming a member or making a contribution.  For more information click here.


PRESS RELEASE: Ministry of Environment Rejects Hydro Developer’s Environmental Report – 3 Ontario Rivers are Safe for Now

3 May 2012

In March of this year Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) received notice with respect to its Part II Order request made on the hydroelectric proposal by Xeneca Power Development Inc. (Xeneca) for The Chute, on the Ivanhoe River.  The letter stated, “the Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) review has determined that the project was not planned in accordance with the OWA Class EA.”  “If Xeneca proceeds with the Project under the OWA Class EA, additional planning work will be required.”   Linda Heron, Chair of ORA stated, “We congratulate MOE on making this decision.  This is the right action, and demonstrates that the Minister’s office shares the public’s concern about the level of planning that went into this proposal, and is ensuring that the intent of the environmental assessment process is upheld.”

Heron reported, “We also recently received notices from MOE’s office that Xeneca has now voluntarily withdrawn their other two Notices of Completion issued for the Four Slide Falls and Wanatango Falls proposals.”  MOE’s responses to Xeneca on these two Notices of Completion were, “If Xeneca wishes to proceed with the Project, it must demonstrate that the Class EA planning process has been followed and is clearly traceable in the Project File.”

In 2011, Xeneca issued Environmental Reports and Notices of Completion for their “modified run-of-river” proposals at The Chute – Ivanhoe River; Four Slide Falls – Serpent River; and Wanatango Falls – Frederick House River, Hydroelectric GS.

ORA is concerned about the numerous negative environmental impacts associated with these “modified run-of-river” hydroelectric proposals, as well as the quality and content of the Environmental Reports submitted by the proponent, and made Part II Order requests to MOE to elevate all three of these proposals to an Individual Environmental Assessment, which is a more rigorous and thorough environmental assessment.

The serious potential impacts on water quality from these types of proposals could increase the prevalence of toxic Blue Green Algae in Ontario lakes and rivers where reports have already been on the rise with the advance of climate change.  There are over 2,000 potential waterpower sites identified throughout Ontario in the 2005 Hatch Acres Report.  Of those there are currently 87 hydroelectric dam proposals going through the approvals process, and an additional 50 MW of hydroelectric power has just been added as a result of the recent FIT Review.    These 87 proposals also represent billions of dollars’ worth of Crown assets that are being given away to private developers whose primary focus is on profits.

“We all want green energy, but let’s ensure it is not the “greenwashed” version that is threatening our source water, natural environment, aquatic species, recreational use, and property values.  Protection of water quality is essential to our public health and safety”, said Heron.

ORA is a Not-for-Profit grassroots organization with a focus on healthy river ecosystems all across Ontario.   ORA members represent numerous organizations such as the French River Delta Association, Vermilion River Stewardship, CPAWS-Ottawa Valley, Friends of Temagami, Paddle Canada, Whitewater Ontario, along with many other stewardships, associations, and private and First Nations citizens, who have come together to protect, conserve and restore healthy river ecosystems in Ontario.


2 March 2012 – MOE to ORA – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
9 March 2012 – MOE to Xeneca – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
9 September 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order Request – The Chute, Ivanhoe River
19 April 2012 – MOE to ORA – Four Slide Falls, Serpent River
28 September 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order request, Four Slide Falls
4 November 2011 – ORA to MOE – Part II Order request, Wanatango Falls, Frederick House River
Miscellaneous – Minutes & Correspondence


 For more information contact Linda Heron, ORA Chair, at (705) 866-1677, or by email at

ORA Website:

Four Slide Falls, Serpent River – Xeneca Withdraws Notice of Completion


ORA to MOE – Part II Order Request – Four Slide Falls – 28 September 2011
MOE response to Xeneca – The Chute – 9 March 2012
MOE response to ORA – The Chute – 2 March 2012
Miscellaneous – Minutes & Correspondence

Download (PDF, 548KB)

Download (PDF, 520KB)


Ivanhoe River, The Chute Proposed Generating Station – Garcia-Wright, Director MOE, to P. Gillette, Xeneca – 2 March 2012

MOE Response to ORA – Ivanhoe, Serpent & Frederick House Rivers – Part II Order Requests

Good morning Ms. Linda Heron:

As you are aware, Xeneca Power Development Incorporated (Xeneca) is currently completing additional work required for The Chute Hydroelectric Generation Station Project (Chute Project).  As per the Director’s March 2, 2012 letter to you, the Chute Project was not planned in accordance with the Ontario Waterpower Association’s Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects (Class EA).  Following completion of the additional work required, Xeneca will be revising its project documentation and re-issuing the Notice of Completion of the Chute Project.  It is the understanding of the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) that Xeneca is currently completing the additional work to address outstanding concerns raised by the requesters and agencies.

For the Serpent River Four Slide Falls Generation Station (Four Slide Falls) and Frederick House River Wanatango Falls Generation Station (Wanatango Falls) projects, the MOE’s formal review of the Part II Order requests has not started.  In accordance with the Class EA, the MOE’s review of the Part II Order requests begins after receiving all necessary information from Xeneca.  Given the recent developments relating to the Chute Project, it is the understanding of the MOE that Xeneca may be withdrawing the Notices of Completion for both Four Slide Falls and Wanatango Falls.  Once the MOE receives confirmation from Xeneca of its intentions for Four Slide Falls and Wanatango Falls, you along with the other requesters will be notified in writing.

Should you have any further questions relating to the status of the Xeneca’s waterpower projects, I encourage you to contact Mr. Mark Holmes at Xeneca.  Mr. Holmes can be reached at 416-590-9362, or by e-mail at

Yours sincerely,

Cindy Batista│Project Officer

Environmental Approvals Branch│Ministry of the Environment

2 St. Clair Avenue West, 14th Floor, Toronto ON  M4V 1L5

Mark Holmes, Xeneca updates Elliot Lake City Council on 2 Hydroelectric Proposals on Serpent River

Interesting to note that Mark Holmes didn’t mention that Xeneca is awaiting a decision from the Minister of the Environment on a Part II Order request made by ORA in September 2011 and ORA’s Supplement to the Part II Order request to elevate this proposal to an Individual Environmental Assessment.  Mr. Holmes also didn’t mention anything about the potential for numerous negative impacts resulting from these proposals.  ORA’s concerns are set out in our Part II Order request – above.

Also, a recent update on ORA’s Part II Order request for The Chute, Ivanhoe River proposed generating station.  The Ministry of Environment sent notice to ORA on 2 March 2012, by way of a Director’s Letter, that “the project was not planned according to the OWA Environmental Assessment Act.”   If Xeneca decides to proceed additional planning work will be required.  As far as ORA knows, this has never happened under the OWA EA before.  ORA anticipates we will soon receive a similar letter from the Minister’s office with regard to the Serpent River proposal.

Read all about Mr. Holme’s presentation made to the Elliot Lake City Council – click on the link below:

Local waterway could be powering area homes
by Kevin McSheffrey, Elliot Lake Standard – 22 February 2012
Mark Holmes, Xeneca s vice-president of corporate affairs, Xeneca wants to put two water-powered hydroelectric generation stations on the Serpent River