Wahta Mohawks First Nation believes Huntsville and Bracebridge will financially benefit from Swift River Energy’s proposed Bala Falls Hydro Plant should Lakeland Holdings run it. Wahta has sent letters to Mayor Scott Aitchison and Graydon Smith, accusing the towns of supporting the project at the District level despite having a perceived conflict of interest. Huntsville and Bracebridge are the major shareholders of Lakeland Holdings, but Aitchison says there is no conflict of interest.
We also reached Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith for comment.
Meantime, Aitchison says if the hydroelectric project goes through, Lakeland Holdings would be the best and obvious choice to run the plant. Also – an email sent to the Moose from Lakeland CEO Chris Litschko indicates the company gave Swift River operational expertise about 10 years ago, but the two parties haven’t meet since then, to discuss operating the plant. For the email from Litschko, see below:
Almost 10 years ago Swift River approached Bracebridge Generation to gauge our interest in operating their proposed Bala Falls plant. We were able to offer our operational expertise to them. Since this time no further meetings have taken place and neither party has any contractual obligations to the other.
If the Bala Falls plant is successfully completed, Bracebridge Generation may still be interested in operating this plant as long as an operational contract can be negotiated that satisfies both parties.
I believe that Bracebridge Generation potentially operating Swift River’s plant may provide new local employment opportunities as more staff may be hired. Also, Bala Falls are part of the Muskoka River Water Management Plan administered by the MNR. As a steward of this Plan, Bracebridge Generation has operational knowledge and expertise and by managing generation sites and waterfalls together this benefits property owners, local economies, tourism, recreation, aquatic and wildlife habitat.