Orillia Power Generation Proposal: July update part 1

Share Button

Whitewater Ontario (WO) has been approached by Orillia Power to consider a proposal to install a generating station at the preserve. Updates were posted here in the spring and fall of 2014 to advise members that these discussions were occurring but were very preliminary.  We remain in discussion with Orillia Power and this Spring they formalized a proposal.

Throughout discussions, WO has emphasized that this is a unique paddling resource and one we wish to protect for all paddlers. WO is continuing discussions with Orillia Power, as opposed to rejecting the proposal outright because Orillia Power owns the land which WO leases from them to create public access. The preserve covers only the upper section of the river. All land below horseshoe falls is owned by Orillia, and leased back to WO. Diversion of water can only have a negative impact but losing access to the river will also have a negative impact. WO does not want to jeapordize paddler access by rejecting the proposal outright as this might lead to termination of the lease, loss of access, or a large increase in annual lease payment (currently $200/yr).

In addition, Orillia Power has fully acknowledged the importance of the paddling use and has given a commitment to finding a solution that would benefit both parties. This would not only preserve access to the river but could provide more predictable control over flows during the paddling season to benefit the paddling community as well as some financial support to help sustain WO activities. Orillia would divert flow only overnight and outside of the paddling season and in some instances divert some excess water during extremely high flows.

At this point WO has not signed any form of agreement. We have retained legal counsel and are exploring options with Orillia around an initial application that they are making as a first step in applying to generate power.  

Any formal proposal will be subject to a full environmental assessment process which will be open to all views and perspectives and may impose certain conditions such as paddler rights on Orillia, regardless of any agreement between WO and Orillia Power.

WO is preparing more detailed background information which will be posted here and distributed to all members shortly. Stay tuned for Part 2.

Free business joomla templates

Distributed by SiteGround