Scott McLellan responds to the Mississippi Mills Riverkeepers presentation before the MM Planning and Development Committee

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by Scott McLellan

Disappointment, embarrassment and frustration are the feelings I had when the Mississippi Mills Riverkeepers presented at the Mississippi Mills Planning and Development meeting.

Disappointment. That they used the logo of a well established organization that has a strict requirement for membership. Membership in the Waterkeeper Alliance means that the organization sets out a long term plan to meet the goals of the Waterkeeper Alliance. The Waterkeeper Alliance is an organization that is not about the one trick pony, it is about committed people to long term goals. The whole focus of the Mississippi Mills Riverkeepers appears to be a position against the Enerdu project. There is nothing wrong in being against the Enerdu project but don't try to mask this as part of the Waterkeeper Alliance organization. If Mississippi Mills Riverkeepers were truly for the river they should have started out by stating something about the 30 water control structures along the river and how they all impact the environment. They should have informed the council where more information could be found like theOttawa River Keepers Report or the companies that own and operate other similar generating stations. http://www.opg.com/safety/water/river/mississippi/, http://www.transalta.com/facilities/plants-operation or http://www.pui.ca/Generation.htm just to name a few.

Embarrassment, when you present a slide which contains a blank page for benefits to the Enerdu project and state that as a group I estimated to be about 30 people could not come up with a single benefit for the Enerdu project. As this slide was presented I looked into the faces of the councilors I saw the disbelief in their eyes that I felt. This was the Mississippi Mills Riverkeepers biggest loss of creditability for the whole presentation. Did this group do any due diligence in writing their presentation, a quick search of “run of the river generating stations” brings me to wikipedia where they state two advantages. They could have at the least put some of the benefits put forth by Enerdu and maybe somewhat discounted them but to have no benefits was just plan ridiculous in my opinion. We all use electricity, there is a projected growth in consumption of electricity, where will we get this electricity from?

Frustration, as person who likes to hear both sides of a story and keep an open mind this presentation has left me with the feeling that there is no group that will objectively look at the situation and weight the advantages and disadvantages of the Enerdu project. For anyone sitting on the fence who witnessed that presentation likely put them on the side of Enerdu. For the Mississippi Mills Riverkeepers this is likely a big set back for them. Council was given no factual information just a presentation of opposition and a demand that they do something.

Following the presentation the majority of people left the building satisfied that what they were worried about had been addressed. While the meeting continued and the council, developers and staff talked about a new sub division development, the water flow off that property and thinking about the needs on where the water for the taps would come from, the people so concerned about our water had left the building. At every meeting of council decisions are made, the show up and demand attitude of some groups doesn't really make an impact. For some information and knowledge is a resource, when I left the building I had notice a woman who sat through the majority of the meeting like myself, having never seen her before I asked her why she stayed so long. She said, I live here and I am a real estate dealer and I just want to know what is going on in the community. Maybe it is something more of us should do on a regular basis.

If you want to know more about Enerdu here is the location of the information from the Enerdu public meeting. http://www.wesa.ca/en/in-the-news.html/81-almonte-gs-project-update.html

The Mississippi Lakes Association site contains lots of information

 Mississippi Valley Conservation

The Ontario Power Authority

Quick Facts on Waterpowered Projects 

Looks like we are on our own on this one. Education your self, don't believe every thing you hear, stick to the facts. There are both pros and cons to this project.