A new committee of Bala community members is helping shape the design of a controversial Hydro Plant. Swift River Energy Limited struck the committee, which is already proposing exterior cladding options and making the facility a tourist destination. Committee members also want to respect that the north face of the building will likely be in the backdrop of future wedding and other photos taken from Margeret Burgess Park towards the north falls. It’s all part of the plant project’s Stage 2 Design Consultation process, more of which can be learnt about here: www.balafalls.ca

Swift River recently had a written delegation sent to Muskoka Lakes Council reporting that the company was surprised by the recent position taken by Wahta First Nation on the Bala Falls issue – namely that the first nation had not been consulted with adequately by the company.

In its delegation, the company says Wahta was contacted by Swift River and/or its agents on numerous occasions, with the first contact being in August 2007 and the last being in May 2012. During this almost 6 year period, the company reports that specific issues were raised and resolved. Swift River says the final response to these consultations from the former Wahta Chief Blaine Commandant was that he did not feel a meeting was required to discuss the Project and he had no further concerns.

Swift River says current Wahta Chief Philip Franks has not returned any of the company’s phone calls and messages to him. Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement has also reported that he too had put a call in to Franks, which had gone unanswered.