August 14, 2011
Mr. Mark Holmes
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Xeneca Power Development
Re: Proposed Generating stations on Ivanhoe River
The Ivanhoe Lake Cottagers’ Assoc. met and discussed the proposed generating stations planned for the Chute and Third Falls. The Ivanhoe Lake Cottagers’ Assoc. is a group comprised of approximately 60 landowners that are committed to the protection and preservation of Ivanhoe Lake and surrounding area. Based on the information provided by public information sessions and on a one on one meeting with Mr. Holmes we have unanimously agreed to oppose this development.
Foleyet and the surrounding townships are recognized as an unorganized part of the Province and as such receive next to nothing from the Provincial Government. The community of Foleyet has a Local Service Board that struggles financially, barely able to provide any services to its residents. An example of this is the condition of its two fire trucks, they are old, in poor condition and one is not even serviceable. Foleyet and the surrounding area including the residents of Ivanhoe Lake have never received any attention from the Province until now. Unfortunately it is not to offer us any kind of services or provide better fire trucks or enhance the area. It is to destroy two of the most beautiful parts of the river and have us believe it is a necessity.
According to the Information available to us the Province of Ontario currently has an abundance of electrical power and is selling it to the United States. The stations they want to build on the Ivanhoe River will only generate enough power to serve 1500 homes. The Province will only see a profit of about 2 million dollars a year from these stations and yet the cost to build the stations will be over 20 million. The two stations will require a great deal of road construction and all year maintenance that will cost the tax payer millions and yield little in revenue. The Province did not request any reclamation plan or agreement from Xeneca to restore the area should the stations eventually fail or run their course of usefulness.
The Ontario Government has given Xeneca time lines to have the stations in place or Xeneca will be penalized. Obviously the decision to move forward on these stations was already made prior to any input or public consultation which is an insult to all of us.
The two locations destined for development are prime fishing areas for locals and visitors and have been for years. The environmental report provided by Xeneca states that fish habitat and spawning beds will be destroyed by the development. The environmental assessment report was coordinated and paid for by Xeneca which could be considered self-serving. As with most projects there are always unforeseen ramifications to the environment and surely this project will cause more collateral damage than the Environmental Assessment has outlined.
Ivanhoe Lake is a shallow and delicate lake insofar as fish and duck habitat. It is controlled by a dam operated by the MNR out of Chapleau. These stations will need water to generate power. In periods of low water our concern is that Xeneca will try to influence the MNR or the Province to release additional water from the lake. Our Assoc. has brought this concern to both the MNR and Xeneca and we have requested a letter from both assuring us that this will not happen. We have obtained a letter from Xeneca claiming they have no current or future plans to request any changes on how the dam is operated. The MNR have informed us that any changes to the operation of the dam could possibly be made with an application to amend the Mattagami Water Management Plan. Therefore there are no guarantees this will not happen.
The Ivanhoe River system remains as one of the only untouched water systems in the Province. We the members of the Ivanhoe Lake Cottagers’ Assoc. are committed to the preservation and protection of the lake and river. We see absolutely no economical or social value in this proposed development. There are no positive long term benefits to Foleyet or the North.
The Ivanhoe Lake Cottagers’ Assoc. cannot support this absolute waste of tax payer’s money. We are committed to making responsible and sound decisions based on the impact it may have in the future for our children and their children. The destruction of the forest and flooding of the area is simply unacceptable and we are ashamed of our present Government for the dictatorial manner in how this has been forced upon us.