No change in course for Swift River despite District calls to hold off on Bala Falls hydro project
Swift River Energy Ltd. will be proceeding with its plans towards building a power plant at Bala Falls despite a request by the district of Muskoka to hold off on the project until issues involving Wahta First Nation are cleared up. “We will be proceeding until the (Provincial) government says otherwise,” Swift River’s Bala Falls Project manager Karen McGhee tells the Moose. Swift River has also issued a response to Wahta Chief Philip Franks regarding his claims that Wahta was not consulted with adequately enough on issues at the falls, that response is below in its entirety:
Swift River’s Response to Chief Franks:
Swift River wishes to take the opportunity to dissolve further miscommunication and achieve clarity on this issue. We have responded directly via a letter to The Wahta Mohawks to address the inaccuracies revealed (yesterday) in its correspondence. All information provided to the Wahta Mohawks in its May 2012 Addendum to the Environmental Screening Review Report was indeed factual and current.
Chief Franks alleges that information we provided during the environmental assessment consultation period was erroneous based on the statement there would be “positive impact to portage” in Table 6.1 of our 2012 Addendum Report to the Environmental Screening Review Report (2012 Addendum). In brief, this reference refers to the impact of changes between the 2009 ESRR and the 2012 Addendum on the purported portage trail. The 2009 ESRR design blocked the Moon and Lake Muskoka ends of the purported portage trail. The 2012 Addendum design was a “positive impact to the portage” because only the Moon River end of the trail would be blocked. In other words, the Lake Muskoka end of the trail is not blocked (the “positive impact”) by the revised Project design.
Chief Franks also alleges that we have expanded “the floorplate of it to even more obstruct the Bala Portage”. This is incorrect. The Moon River side of the purported portage was to be completely blocked on the Project site design presented in the 2012 Addendum. No change has been made to limits of the Project site i.e. the Crown land to be used for the Project.
With respect to consultation, Swift River and/or items agents contacted the Wahta Mohawks and on numerous occasions since August 2007. A record of this consultation with the Wahta Mohawks and the other 7 aboriginal communities consulted on this project, is provided on our website at www.balafalls.ca.