by Brent Eades
Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley has finally delivered his long-delayed decision on the Town’s Part II Order request about the proposed Enerdu hydroelectric project. It’s not good news. Bradley has effectively approved the project — against the strong opposition of our community — subject to two minor conditions, the implications of which aren’t clear at this point. Before construction can proceed, the province requires Enerdu to:
complete a Heritage Impact Assessment which is to be provided to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for its review and comment. The Heritage Impact Assessment will be completed before the detail design phase and will help guide the conservation of identified built heritage resources and cultural heritage landscapes.”
ensure additional [hydraulic] modeling is completed. The purpose of the condition is not to change the design of the Project but to ensure that any potential mitigation measures that may be required are considered early in the planning process.”
The numerous other areas of serious concern — in particular the dying of the Appleton Wetlands upstream from the current Enerdu site — were dismissed by Minister Bradley.
This decision was not a complete surprise. The arcane Ontario law governing the approval of small hydroelectric projects is absurdly weighted in favour of the hydro industry, and gives almost no consideration to the concerns of anyone else affected by the projects. I wrote an article about this inequitable process last April. Of the 40-plus applications made under this law in the past several years, not a single one has ever been refused.
So does this mean Enerdu is a done deal now? By no means. The Minister’s decision is a setback, yes, but it’s not the end. More information to follow.
Below is Bradley’s stock reply about his decision.