Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Swift River Hydro Project in Bala part 25

Huntsville protestor Peggy Peterson's
I don't understand the notion of 'energy pirates.'
The water is a clean, renewable source of energy. We've got to do much more of this or our great-grandchildren will pay the price. This area was 'destroyed' by the hydro plant in the early years of Muskoka's development.

Those who profit from summer tourists, exploited the Aboriginal Peoples, and began logging in the 1800s, needed a stable water level. This ship has sailed. The dam is already there. It already maintains a water flow, why not harness its power? Swift River did many public consultations. I attended some. There were many there who were impressed by the Community Engagement.

People who are afraid to speak out at this point, due to the vitriol, anger, rumours, Bala Falls - errors and lies, and ridiculously romantic points of view.

The North Falls Dam dates from 1873
One Swift River Energy financier is a cottager. All are business people, all are investors who want to harness the power of the water. WTH? Whites have exploited this waterway for hundreds of years. It's time to harness the power for good purposes.

The former mayor, Alice Murphy, who led the charge against this project, didn't want her view of the highway spoiled from her rich 'cottage' property. She wants the trees to remain on this narrow band of land.

Bala Falls
 The lack of clear information was sadly lacking until Norah Fountain, of Muskoka News Watch,  began asking questions.

Recently, she was pushed by a male citizen, while trying to ask questions, take photos, and seek clarity on the issues. It is shameful.

Mob mentality, I’m so sad for you and for my beloved Bala, Norah. It’s shameful that citizens cannot respect you. You have been faithful at covering this issue through thick and thin; snow, rain, sleet and hail. And hell.

Shameful, in this day and age and with recent news stories, that a man would shove you.
Who overcomes by force hath overcome but half his foe.  ~John Milton, poet (1608-1674) 
Their duly elected provincial politicians have created plans for the town, and the municipal politicians, business owners and rich cottage owners, are fighting them. At what cost?
This is a discouraging word for visitors.

Tourism. Signs that clutter and shame those who live in a democracy. New residents who avoid the area due to this controversy. I laud you for covering this ridiculous example of a small town that doesn’t tolerate differences of opinion. I am so glad to have moved away, despite being a landowner in Bala for 50 years. My parents are rolling in their graves in Muskoka, with a town slowly dying and fighting over meager plots of land.

The signage has been frightening. Realtors have told stories of potential residents being frightened off by this signage.

Now, a filmmaker has a video trailer out, protesting the rebuilding of the hydro dam.

It's hilarious! "...trying to stop a hydro plant from destroying their town". There was a working hydro plant. They shut it down. It did not destroy the town then. Economics will destroy Bala. There isn't enough for tourists to buy, do or see. Tourists breeze through on their way to the cottages. Businesses are closing. There is little employment. THAT is destroying the town.
This is where two bodies were recovered

It's a lovely picnic spot.

Taking toddlers here to swim?

It's a working dam right now

People have this romantic image of the falls. They want to swim in the falls, which has proven dangerous. There are beaches about. People leave garbage, I've seen old diapers left behind.
The signage is clear

NIMBY meeting

They are concerned with the trees in 'Project Area #1'. When they built the highway through, they took away a fair number of trees. The highway used to go under the railway bridge, the lower right of the 'Y'.
What they protest? The loss of 24 trees on Turtle Isl.,
middle forefront

This photo was taken, by request,
from the former mayor's property in 2009.
She doesn't want her view spoiled.

Purks Place, which is leased land. This is where peggy Peterson has been 'occupying' a spot. She lives in Huntsville.

The ancient building is falling apart. It looks so sad. The town has gone through many iterations. The Kee has been there for years.
Purks Place - boat rentals, bait, etc.
Moss on the roof.

The Balacade is for sale
Bala Hydro plant in the 50s
nasty signage

The same month of the 2 drownings

Bala Falls


Red said...

Fights like this seem to roll on for years As you said no facts just make noise.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
As you say, it is not so much the projects as the human nature they reveal which can cause the greatest disturbance... YAM xx

DeniseinVA said...

Sounds like a very sad state of affairs Jenn.

William Kendall said...

It sounds like a mess on all sides.

Cloudia said...

We are all fighting for our local space, it seems. We do our best. So do you, Jenn

ALOHA from Honolulu