Orillia Power Generation Proposal: July update part 1

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.

Orillia Power Public Meeting Notice July 16th 2-8.30pm

Please see attached information about a public community information meeting about the Orillia Power proposal to develop a 3. 0 to 3.5 MW waterpower facility on the east side of the Gull River between Horseshoe Lake and Minden Lake.

The meeting is from 2:30 until 8:30 pm at Milden  Hills Township Office at 7 Milne St in Minden.

WO Advocacy Committee announces donation from Ottawa Valley River Access Fund

The Ottawa Valley River Access Fund was created in partnership with Five2Nine Productions to support paddler access to the Ottawa River and recognise the contribution made by rafting companies on the Ottawa.
The Advocacy Committee in consultation with Mike McKay from Five2Nine Productions have decided to allocate part of the 2014 funds as follows:

$400 to Wilderness Tours to help with road maintenance of the WT takeout

$400 to OWL Rafting to help with road maintenance of McCoys putin

$400 to OWL Rafting to help with road maintenance of the Lorne access road

These donations would not be possible without the generosity of Five2Nine Productions, WO's Advocacy Committee is extremely grateful and welcomes other suggestions for fundraising partnerships. Important access and advocacy work is not possible without paddler support!

Orillia Power Generation Proposal Update: June 2015

Orillia Power is developing their application for a hydro generation project on the Gull River in Minden. WO leases some land from Orillia Power at the Minden Wild Water Preserve and Orillia Power is proposing a hydro generation project where a tunnel would run from the dam at the top of the Gull, under part of the campground through WO and OPG owned land, and out to a generating building river left downstream of the final rapids on the Gull.

They have presented WO with a draft MOU for consideration. WO is gathering information on land ownership, implications of the proposed project and finding a lawyer who can help advise on the project. We will keep members updated as things proceed, if you would you like more information or if you have questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WO Advocacy Committee featured in Canoeroots article on river access

Neil Schulman recently spoke with Co-Directors of the WO Advocacy Committee for the article 'Who owns the river?'.


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