Whitewater Ontario is deeply concerned about the erosion of the rights of paddlers and other users of the province's waterways. Whitewater Ontario is and has been involved in river access and preservation through such projects as the Minden Wild Water Preserve on the Gull River, negotiating with land owners to provide access to the Crowe Bridge play spot, and keeping involved in the struggle over the Petawawa hydroelectric project.
Published on Thursday, 27 August 2015 22:15
The Orillia Power proposal is dead after a unanimous vote against the project by Minden Hills councillors today.
While the Whitewater Ontario Board had voted yes to grant Orillia Power access for the building requirements if the proposal had been approved, the project needed the Township to grant OP access to the shoreline allowance abutting their property and that of WO. WO had still not signed anything as it was unclear whether OP was in agreement with the conditions we had added to the MOU.
Here is a link to an article from the Minden Times:
Published on Thursday, 27 August 2015 02:13
August 26, 2015
Whitewater Ontario Board Votes on Orillia Power Proposal
Whitewater Ontario’s Board of Directors have voted ‘Yes’ to granting access to Orillia Power for the building requirements of the proposed power generating project should their proposal be approved. This allows OP to proceed with their project application on September 1st, 2015. WO has not agreed to any other aspects of the project or building requirements other than to enter into discussions with OP on the project details and to determine if a satisfactory agreement around these other aspects can be reached which include but are not limited to location, construction and impact of the build, flow operations, maintenance or improvement of paddling opportunities, and financial compensation. If OP is not willing to include these conditions in this initial agreement, it will not be signed. If a subsequent agreement cannot be reached that maintains or improves river access, this initial access agreement will be null and void. Similarly, if the township of Minden does not grant OP access to the shoreline allowance abutting their property and WO’s property, this access agreement will be null and void.
The WO Board did not come to this decision easily nor was it unanimous. It is fully aware of the varying perspectives of the issue not only among the Board but within Whitewater Ontario itself and the paddling community. The Board has made it clear to Orillia Power that while willing to sign an agreement to grant them access to WO property, we are a long way from agreeing to the proposal and have concerns about the lack of information and high levels of uncertainty about the project. This is not a vote in favour of the project but rather of continuing the conversation and being included in discussions as they move forward. WO will remove itself from the agreement if our concerns are not addressed. It is also important that the members of the paddling community who believed WO should not sign this agreement still have their voices heard, concerns addressed, and ideas considered.
The Board will also be requesting resources to assist WO in consultation activities around agreement negotiations to a) ensure a thorough, complete and timely consultation process, b) engage with other river user groups and stakeholders, c) avoid added burden to an already stretched volunteer base, and d) not detract from the organization’s other activities and responsibilities.
As we move forward, Whitewater Ontario’s priorities are to 1) protect river access, and 2) ensure that paddling opportunities are maintained or increased. We will continue to assess the implications of the project as more information becomes available and communicate and consult with the paddling community.
If you cannot see the attachment, please click on the link below to download directly.
Published on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 17:10
Thank you to everyone who voted in the paddler survey. Since the survey went out, the Advocacy Committee has investigated the access issue and have increased confidence in secured public access to the river. We are in the process of getting an official land survey of the shoreline allowances on our property. The survey results may not reflect how paddlers would have responded had this information been available before. The survey results show 60% in favour of a Yes vote and 40% as No/Don't know/No response. The WO Board is meeting on this week for further discussions and further updates will be posted shortly.
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