To the Editor
I have read many comments in the Millstone, in emails and on Face Book dealing with the Enerdu Project and I want to present some of the facts on this Project to those who have not been appraised of them.
Council has addressed many of the residents’ concerns both verbally and in written form, with the Province, to-date, and have received very little support from the Province.
The concerns that have been addressed with both the Ministries of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority are as follows:
- Zone of influence is too limited and should include all of Reach 18 and the Appleton Wetlands, part of Reach18, were not included in the zone of influence and therefore they were not assessed. The Province stated that they are satisfied that the zone of influence for the Project is appropriate and that potential impacts to the environment within the zone of influence were sufficiently assessed.
- Damage to the Appleton Wetlands. The Province stated that upon their visit to the Wetlands that the Wetland is healthy, however the soft maples are dying and, because of this, the ecology of the wetland may shift, causing different species to form new communities and in addition, the current state of the river ecosystem, as well as the use of the river and its banks by the public, landowners and industry, has been shaped by more than 100 years of development. Making changes to save one species at one location may cause cumulative impacts to other species in many locations.
- Part II Environment Assessment Request by the Council. The Province states that mediation and/or and individual environmental assessment is not required.
- Enerdu Generating Station will not be a run-of-the-river facility. The Province stated that they are satisfied that Enerdu has adequately documented the characteristics of the Project and its conclusion that it will remain a run-of-the-river facility.
- Impacts to Culture. The Province stated that they are satisfied that impacts to tourism and culture have been assessed in the EA Report and that proposed conditions will require further information to be provided to the public in the form of a Heritage Impact Assessment.
- Impacts to adjacent landowners (structural stability and erosion due to excavation). The Province states that they are satisfied that Enerdu assessed erosion and riverbed excavation in the EA Report and has considered impacts to adjacent landowners. They are satisfied that appropriate measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the Project and that as per the EA Report, an erosion plan will be submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources as part of the Work Permit application under the Public Lands Act prior to construction.
- Riparian Rights. The Province states that they are satisfied that riparian rights will be maintained.
- Community/Economic benefits of the Project. The Province states that they are satisfied that Enerdu has met the requirements of the Class EA Assessment by adequately assessing the Projects potential impacts on the local economic environment.
- Limiting the use of the surrounding area and access to the tail race and Placement of safety signage and booms. The province states that they are satisfied that recreational use of the river will be maintained and that the area around the Project site will be appropriately marked with safety structures in accordance with Transport Canada regulations.
- Impacts to tourism. The Province states that it is satisfied that impacts to tourism have been assessed in the EA Report and that mitigation measures such a timing of construction will be enacted.
- Land ownership issues. The Province states that the Ministry of Natural Resources has indicated it will work with the proponent to clarify ownership and that they are satisfied that the proponent will continue to work with the Ministry to resolve any land ownership questions.
- Size and location of new Powerhouse. The Province states that they are satisfied that details of the new powerhouse’s size and location were adequately documented in the EA Report and that efforts will be made by Enerdu to ensure the heritage value and aesthetics of the buildings are maintained.
- Risk of increased flooding. The Province states that it satisfied that flows and water levels have been assessed by the proponent and will be further assessed through proposed conditions.
- Heritage. The Province states that it is satisfied that the proponent has adequately documented the potential impacts to the surrounding natural environment through its assessment of the natural heritage in the Project Area. In addition, the Ministry of the Environment ordered the Enerdu Power Systems Inc. (not the Town of Mississippi Mills) to prepare a Heritage Impact Assessment with the following stipulations: (1) Enerdu Power Systems Inc. shall retain a qualified person to prepare a Heritage Impact Assessment as described in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports February 1, 2013 comment letter on the Final Environmental Report for the Enerdu Generating Station Expansion and Redevelopment Project. (2) Enerdu Power Systems Inc. shall make the draft Heritage Impact Assessment available to the public for comment and shall document in the final Heritage Impact Assessment how comments received were considered. (3) Enerdu Power Systems Inc. shall submit the final Heritage Impact Assessment to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for review and comment and to the Ministry of the Environment for the public record.
- Impacts on Species at Risk. The Province states that they are satisfied that species at risk have been identified and that mitigation measures and a management strategy are being developed in consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources.
- Pollution as a result of excavation. The Province state that they are satisfied mercury pollution was considered and is not anticipated and that pollution due to excavation will be mitigated by the proponent.
- Hydraulic Modeling. The Province have ordered Enerdu to retain a qualified person to complete a detailed hydraulic modeling and submit the modeling to the MN&R and the Mississippi Valley Conservation for their review and approval.
I was born in this community, I swam, fished and boated in the Mississippi River over the years and I, like many of the other residents in this community, do not want any drastic changes to the river that will harm the beauty, ecology or the heritage aspect of the river. That said, our Council is a lower tier governing body and we do not have the authority to encroach into provincial jurisdiction on any matters what-so-ever. Their decisions are final.
It is very apparent that the Provincial Government will be authorizing the construction of the Enerdu Project just like they authorized the construction of the electricity generating windmills and solar panel installations that have popped up all over the Province of Ontario and once again they do this without taking into account the input or the concerns voiced by the Councils or the residents of the local communities. As a Councillor I am very frustrated with not having any control over this project but we are what we are a lower tier government body and there is very little more that we can say or do that will alter the Province’s decisions on this project.
Town of Mississippi Mills