Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

Wanatango Falls, Frederick House River – Proposed Hydroelectric Dam – Robichaud

November 3rd, 2011

Vanesa Enskaitis
Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations
Xeneca Power Development Inc.
5255 Yonge Street, Suite 1200
North York, ON M2N 6P4

Re: Wantango Falls on Frederick House River

Dear Ms Enskaitis,

The purpose of this letter is to forward my closing concerns and comments as per the Notice of Completion prescribed review period.
This project is to establish a hydro generating station at “Wanatango Falls” on the Frederick House. The project is being developed by Xeneca Power Development Incorporated. The Notice of Completion under Class EA will reach its deadline of November 4th, 2011 for public and stakeholder participation.

I was able to read the Environmental Assessment report and with the assistance of the folks at Xeneca and NRSI, I managed to get a somewhat clear picture of the present aquatic situation with respect to the known presence of lake sturgeon in the vicinity of the proposed Wanatango project site. I also must admit that the resident biologist at the Cochrane District office of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources was instrumental in helping me broaden my knowledge of migration, habitat usage and the resident population factors for lake sturgeon below Zeverly Rapids a short distance downstream of Wanatango.

There are still a few shadowy areas of concern that must be attended to. The fact that Ontario Power Generation has a water control structure just 10 km upstream of the Wanatango project renders this new energy development dependent on negotiations with the water management group responsible for the relevant watershed. These last few years, the river had extremely low flow and if this is to be a trend, trying to marry both a required minimum flow with enough water flow to run the generators will likely create a difficult maybe even impossible situation.

If the proponent is allowed to operate under a modified run of the river operation, this will likely create an environmental disaster above and below the Wanatango site. The cumulative effects on the aquatic environment are still the biggest unknown and to try to repair or mitigate in any way will only change even more the existing environment. I am concerned the health of the river is possibly going to be jeopardized even more than it is presently.
When the headpond total inflow is at the required minimum flow through Wanatango, it will be extremely hard to raise the headpond for this peaking operation. The inflow will have to be released according to the approved minimum flow requirement.

The aquatic diversity present on the Frederick House River holds a unique ecosystem worth making sure the state of health is preserved. If we could just reflect on the Mattagami River, Little Long Generating Complex, Adams Creek Spillway lake sturgeon entrainment for a minute, we would realize how difficult and costly it can be to try to amend errors not to mention the trauma caused to resident lake sturgeon population. Just ask OPG.

Having read the EA document and according to my concerns and comments, I am against the further development of this site for hydro energy. I will not request a Part II Order at this time.

Best Regards,
Laurent Robichaud

Cc: Patrick Gillette, Xeneca
Stepanie Hodsoll, Xeneca
Cindy Batista, MOE