Enerdu GS Expansion and Redevelopment Project
While I feel that the Heritage Impact Study by Julie Harris of Contentworks, Inc. has a number of significant flaws, I will stick to discussing two main points here.
The “riverscape” in downtown Almonte has evolved over time from heavy industrial use to essentially a heritage landscape. As many have said: “The Mill industry on the river thrived in the early 1900s, we are in the 21st century now!” The previous mills that once provided major employment opportunities are gone. Almonte currently has two power generating stations (the MRPC and the much smaller current Enerdu generator) – and this is the sum total of the current state of “industrialization” of the Mississippi River. In 2014, we are using the river 99% of the time for recreational, cultural and tourist/economic benefits.
Further – from my knowledge of the river – very little has changed in the past few decades other than the repurposing of the mills to residential use and a gradual naturalization of the shoreline. The public widely uses the water and land immediately adjacent to the existing Enerdu facility and weir for recreation such boating, swimming, fishing, picnics, and generally just hanging out.
This is the current cultural heritage of the Almonte riverscape,
To justify renewed industrialization (i.e., a huge out-of-proportion Enerdu power plant building and accompanying weir) is irresponsible on the part of the heritage consultant. The consultant’s report should have addressed and considered seriously the current cultural heritage value of the riverscape to the community and how drastically it would be affected by this project. Instead the report offers recommendations on how to make this monster two-story powerhouse structure in the middle of the river look “prettier.” Harris’ Heritage Impact Study and report simply whitewashes our reality here in Almonte in order to provide Cavanagh the conclusions he paid for.
The above notwithstanding, the greatest failing of Harris’ report is the complete omission of one very important recommendation that should be known to one in the heritage field: The part of the river under consideration / production by Enerdu is part of an ongoing Heritage Conservation Study Area. Subsection 40.1(2) of the OHA provides municipal council with the option to put in place interim control measures within the study area, when Council designates an area as a Heritage Conservation Study Area. The purpose of interim controls is to protect the integrity of the area while a study is underway. Harris’ report completely fails to mention this fact. What should have been the conclusion of a “Heritage impact” consultant? This: A report that strongly recommended MM Council enact the OHA protection measure on the Mississippi River in the area of the Enerdu proposal.
Sincerely,George Yaremchuk, Almonte ON