More reaction to the latest Provincial development on Bala Falls. Swift River Energy Ltd (SREL) has issued a response to today’s news that the Township of Muskoka Lakes will have its public access at Bala Falls argument heard by Ontario’s Court of Appeal.

“While we are not surprised by the Court’s decision to grant the Township Leave to Appeal, we are disappointed that it will yet again cause further delays and increased costs,” said Swift River’s Karen McGhee. “We are confident, however, that upon full analysis, the Appeals Court will arrive at a similar decision as the Division Court did last summer. The Divisional Court panel of judges unanimously dismissed the Township’s application for Judicial Review prior to even calling for MNR or SREL’s response, stating during the hearing that the Township’s actions were ‘disingenuous’.”

McGhee says the judges also stated their decision was based on the premise that “public safety is an objective that will often trump other policy goals”.   She says it should be noted the decision granting leave for appeal is not a decision on the merits of the judicial review or the appeal issues raised by the Township.

“Sadly for area residents, the appeal of that decision represents yet another opportunity for council to use taxpayer money and resources on what appears to have become the mayor and council’s pet project – fighting the North Bala Small Hydro Project,” she wrote. “That said, we are still moving forward with the Project. SREL has requested to delegate to Township council this month to propose alternative construction staging options that could allow Margaret Burgess Park to remain fully open to the public during the construction period.  A recent poll conducted this past January indicated that 79% of respondents preferred us using Townships lands as opposed to the park’s Crown lands.”