I love Muskoka, live in Torrance, and am a local Muskoka Lakes councillor.
While active for some time Not supporting the Bala Hydro Plant, I accept the fate forced upon this area by the Ontario government as it was their will to do so.
I want to be crystal clear here; Queen’s Park has work to do in Bala before they hand the management responsibility of our Muskoka Watershed to a private energy developer - Full Stop.
Here’s how I see it:
The recently announced (finally, after years of cajoling) SREL Public Safety Plan around the as yet to be operated facility has instantly raised a number of questions and concerns for many.
In fact, to the extent that it may well be necessary for the government to mandate a ‘no operation’ condition for the Recreational use months of May, June, July, August and September. Considering the upstream measures and infrastructure being readied for placement into that Bala Bay area, it would be unwise with this plan to boat, canoe, kayak or otherwise enter into what could be, without notice, fast moving water destined for the turbine.
Here’s the rub:
Purk’s Place, a 75+ year old waterfront business will be essentially closed to water access. Would you send a 14 year old in a tinny and 9.9 over for worms to that level of danger and harms way- I think not!
What about the economic impact to Purk’s Place, to Don’s Bakery, to Ice Dreams Shoppe, Twig, LCBO and the plethora of other Bala businesses that rely on our Township docks for boat parking within such close proximity to the WARNING signs right there beside.
Over 105 years of Bala Regatta’s must move elsewhere, surely. Remember, day in, day out, there will not be water spilling over what was the South and North Falls structures as it will all be directed to the hydro plant, likely creating a current, a draw towards the facility, directly in front of Township Public Docks and Bala’s oldest business.
Muskoka Lakes council is inviting SREL to attend our November meeting for a more fulsome discussion. We must protect Bala business and preserve economic prosperity in this town. We can not do this without the Ontario government, SREL and the District of Muskoka being onside and in the discussion.
Here‘s hoping ...