The Wahta Mohawks First Nation is accusing the Town of Huntsville of ignoring a conflict of interest over the controversial Bala Falls Hydro Plant. Rumours are circulating that Lakeland Holdings might be given the contract to operate the plant. In a letter addressed to Mayor Scott Aitchison, the group says they are concerned the town’s shareholdings with Lakeland have influenced the town’s support of the project at District level. The Moose contacted Aitchison who tells us he did not receive the letter at the time of our conversation. He says Lakeland would be the obvious choice to run the plant.

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As for the accusation the town has a conflict of interest, Aitchison says although Huntsville and the Town of Bracebridge are major shareholders of Lakeland Holdings, there is no conflict of interest.

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Meantime, in an email to The Moose, Lakeland CEO Chris Litschko says there are no contractual obligations to run the proposed plant. But he says Bracebridge Generation potentially operating Swift River’s plant may provide new local employment opportunities.

Click Wahta Mohawks Letter to read the First Nation’s full letter to Mayor Aitchison. Below is the email from Lakeland Holdings CEO Chris Litschko.

Chris Litschko    11:50 AM     Dec 30
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.

Chris Litschko
Chief Executive Officer
Lakeland Holding Ltd.