by Brent Eades
As reported in the Millstone, one of the last bureaucratic hurdles facing the controversial Enerdu project is the Ontario government’s order that the company complete a “Heritage Impact Assessment” — basically, a report on whether the project would contravene provincial standards for the protection of key heritage areas.
The firm retained by Enerdu to push this project through, BluMetric Environmental Inc, hired Ottawa’s ContentWorks to do the analysis. Their draft report was presented at a public meeting on May 27, and was met largely with derision. Its key conclusion was:
The Enerdu Project is about power production, an activity that has been at the core of the community’s history since its founding… The cultural landscape is dynamic and has already absorbed many changes; the Enerdu project will add another modern component in the landscape that reduces the visibility of historic elements.
You have the chance to reject this dubious conclusion, but you must do so by next Wednesday, June 18. It’s not entirely clear what the process is; the ‘Notice of Opportunity to Comment” from BluMetric says merely:
Enerdu must receive all comments in writing regarding the Draft HIA report no later than 11:59 p.m. on June 18, 2014. Please direct any inquiries, comments or requests to:
Ms. Muriel Kim
BluMetric Environmental Inc.
3108 Carp Road, P.O. Box 430
Carp, ON, K0A 1L0
T: (613) 839-3053, ext. 261
Ms. Julie Harris
120 Sunnyside Avenue
Ottawa, ON, K1S 0R1
T: (613) 730-4059
What’s in the report?
The report lays out a long list of profound changes Enerdu would inflict on the heritage character of Almonte:
The Enerdu Project will change the appearance of a key long-standing view up the river from the Number 2 falls and the Main Street Bridge
The Enerdu Project will change the view from across the river
The Enerdu Project will change the view of the Bridge Falls – the intake canal weir will become a more prominent feature within the view and part of area where the falls currently flow will be consumed by the headpond
Concrete will become a more visible component in the landscape
The new powerhouse and related structures will obscure and replace natural and built features of the landscape
Historic concrete components of the historic flume structure will be hidden from view by the new powerhouse and intake weir
Yet the report goes on to claim:
[the Enerdu Project] extends historic uses into the present
the Enerdu Project is about power production, an activity that has been at the core of the community’s history since its founding
the industrial and power development character will not change
In other words: Almonte has always had a river that powers something or other. The Enerdu hydroelectric scheme is just more of the same. No big deal.
If you disagree with this conclusion, say so.