A local tree service employee is taking a stand against Swift River Energy Ltd’s plans at Bala Falls. The company’s District Manager for Muskoka North Kyle Vincent says Swift River approached him recently about getting an arborist report and tree removal services at the location. Bala Falls is where Swift River is expected to build a new hydro plant.

Vincent says he has roots going back in Milford Bay some ways and the last thing he wants to do is take part in any project that will affect Muskoka Lakes and the history around the Bala Falls because “it’s going to change it forever. “ Vincent says he backed away from the request and let the company know he “wasn’t interested in having anything to do with tarnishing our history here in Muskoka.”

Swift River’s Bala Falls Project Manager Karen McGhee, who was not the person who approached Vincent tells Moose FM Swift River is committed to hiring locally where possible, and that it’s disappointing to hear a local contractor would pass up local work in this economy, but that this is their prerogative.  McGhee says the company needs to remove some trees to complete its project and that was outlined in the company’s 2009 Environmental Screening Report and their 2012 Addendum. Currently Swift River is only looking at removing trees along the property lines to facilitate installing a fence to secure the site so they can complete some additional investigations and site preparation work.

As to the exact status of this tree service contract, Swift River has been in discussions with several firms. It’s the company’s intention to award the work – if it hasn’t been done already – within a matter of days. McGhee says the timing of the work will be based on the availability of the contractor and the weather.

Vincent is adamant about not getting involved.

“They’re talking about clear-cutting this whole rock to put in this Bala Falls project and I don’t want anything to do with it,” he said.