Swift River Energy Limited is letting Muskoka Lakes election candidates it’s still willing to work with them on options that could mitigate construction impacts on Bala. An email has been sent out by Swift River, telling them the company remains willing to co-operate with the Township on ideas to reduce the impact of construction when it comes time to build the proposed hydro plant at Bala Falls. The company says the options include, but are not limited to ones previously proposed which were rejected by the current council.

They are, namely: A)  The lease of Township lands in order to leave Margaret Burgess Park open to the public and untouched and B)  The widening of Highway 169 in order to eliminate extended lane closures during construction as long as they do not further delay the project.

“In other words, we could still implement the above options if mutually acceptable agreements could be formalized early in 2015,” wrote Swift River’s Bala Project Manager Karen McGhee in the email.

Muskoka Lakes councilor Phil Harding who is running for re-election has responded to the email on two fronts: First to ask McGhee to elaborate on claims made by Ward A District candidate  Greg Knight, who this weekend told people at an all-candidates debate in Port Carling that he had been in discussions with Swift River concerning an agreed upon construction plan that would save Margaret Burgess Park if a favorable council was elected.

As to McGhee’s email regarding construction impacts on Bala, Harding writes that he finds it “very interesting” that any group of candidates would or could in fact agree to a plan of construction without the involvement of the general public.  “Beyond the involvement of the general public, I am also concerned as to how they could agree to a plan outside of Council, as this will assuredly affect every taxpayer in Muskoka Lakes,” he added.