SAVE THE BALA FALLS!!!!!
Some very good news …
We now have confirmation that the District Municipality of Muskoka owns the riverbed under their Muskoka Road 169 bridge over the Bala north channel.
In combination with several other developments, this gives our Township and District Councillors the means, the motive, and the opportunity to stop the construction of the proposed hydro-electric generating station at the Bala falls. This is big, as municipal elected officials that have always justified their position of facilitating the proponent with the reasoning that they can’t stop the proposed project, now have to decide if they are really trying to get the best outcome for Bala or not. more info
A developer has proposed constructing a hydro-electric generating station at the Bala Falls, which would:
- Make hundreds of feet of the only publically-accessible shoreline in the area too dangerous to access – people come to Bala to safely access the water
- Make in-water recreation both upstream and at the base of the fallstoo dangerous to continue – people don’t come to Bala to look at the water, they can do that on the Internet
- Take most all of the water from both falls throughout most of the year, leaving only a trickle – people won’t come to Bala to see the dry rocks where the falls used to be
For over four years, we have been battling the government agencies and the proponent to show this proposed development would permanently do far more harm than good.
During this time, National Geographic magazine has twice recognized(and now a third time) Muskoka as a world-class destination for our shorelines, waterfalls, and natural beauty (all of which would be destroyed in Bala), the Heritage Canada Foundation has recognized saving the Bala Falls as one of the top 10 heritage issues in all of Canada, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario has awarded us the Margaret and Nicholas Hill Cultural Heritage Landscape Award for our work to protect the Bala Falls, and93% of people polled have agreed the Township of Muskoka Lakes is right in their fight to save the Bala Falls. But Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment:
- Sees nothing wrong with the economic impact study submitted by the proponent – which was peer-reviewed and found to be deficient and flawed (the survey questions did not ask area business owners about negative impacts, nor did the proponent interview tourists to understand the negative impacts – yet bizarrely, the proponent stated the proposed project would have a net positive impact).
- Doesn’t mind that the misleading drawings submitted are incomplete, inconsistent, and incorrect.
- Do not question the proponent’s noise calculations that simply omit most of the noise sources.
- Has no concern that this private developer has no assets, no operations, and no employees. And the required construction would require blasting and excavation directly adjacent to the the highway bridge supports and the north dam (which holds back the 20′-high wall of water from all of Lake Muksoka). And if these were damaged, the proponent could simply abandon the site (or a disaster they cause) with no protection for the public.
- Allows their senior staff to meet with the proponent’s hired government lobbyist during crucial decision-making times (the proponent now has three paid lobbyists registered to this proposed project).
- Accepts conjecture and wishful thinking from the proponent that the proposed cycling operation would not kill too many more fish or harm the shoreline habitat. Where is the fact, where is the science.