February 12, 2015
MLA outlines its position on Bala Falls
As the Township of Muskoka Lakes begins grappling again with the thorny issue of the proposed Swift River hydroelectric project in Bala, and in consideration of the recent Risk Management presentation to the District of Muskoka Engineering and Public Works Committee, the Muskoka Lakes Association felt it important to make its opposition clear before the Township Council goes much further in its deliberations.
At a special meeting on February 5, the MLA board confirmed its opposition by passing a resolution that included the following:
The Muskoka Lakes Association confirms its position that the Swift River Energy Limited (SREL) proposal to construct a hydroelectric facility at Bala Falls is an inappropriate and disruptive use for the businesses, residents, tourists and cottagers of Bala and the larger cottage area of Muskoka; and
Further that the Muskoka Lakes Association notes the power potentially generated from this facility is not needed.
Therefore be it resolved that the Muskoka Lakes Association hereby confirms its opposition to the construction of the proposed Swift River hydroelectric facility at Bala and further that the Association’s opposition to this project be communicated to its membership, interested stakeholders, such as the Wahta Mohawk community, Williams Treaty Nations, local cottager associations, local municipal governments, local media and the Ontario Minister of Energy and the Premier of the Province.
In passing the motion, the MLA considered the need for the electrical power to be generated by SREL, the cost of that power to taxpayers, the disruption and uncertainty involved in the project’s construction, and the long-term degradation of a popular Muskoka scenic area and recreational site.
The MLA is communicating its opposition to the project to the Township of Muskoka Lakes, The District of Muskoka, SREL, local First Nations groups, Muskoka media and cottage associations, the Ontario Minister of Energy, and the Premier’s Office.
The MLA regrets the emotional political schisms that have developed in the township, and particularly Bala, over this issue. Whatever happens to the North Falls, we hope all residents, politicians and community leaders will pull together to ensure the best outcome for the community. The MLA looks forward to assisting in that process.
A copy of the letter sent can be found below.