The inspection and public comment period for the proposed Namakan River Hydro Development Project got underway in late December with the release of the project’s Draft Environmental Report by the Ojibway Power and Energy Group.
The project, which would generate electricity with a generating station at High Falls west of Quetico Provinicial Park, calls for an intake facility and powerhouse located at the edge of Bill Lake, a 1.4 meter high rock-faced concrete weir approximately 40 meters upstream of High Falls, and a concrete weir of similar height across the inlet to the back channel at Eva Island. Water flow would be diverted into the intake and powerhouse and returned through a tailrace downstream, just west of the falls.
With approval and permitting, Ojibway Power and Energy Group hope to begin construction on the facililty in the spring of this year and to begin operation in the winter of 2012. OPEG is a partnership between the Lac la Croix First National and Aurora, Ontario-based Chant Construction.
Several environmental advocacy organizations. including the Rainy Lake Conservancy and the Voyageurs National Park Association, oppose the project. The Quetico Superior Foundation, which publishes Wilderness News Online, also opposes the project.
Public comment on the report will be taken until February 26, 2010 as part of a 65-day comment period for the project.
Open houses for the project are scheduled as follows:
February 15, 2010
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Zhingwaako Zaaga’iganing School Gymnasium
Lac la Croix First Nation
February 16, 2010
2:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Royal Canadian Legion
13 O’Brien Street
February 18, 2010
2:00 – 8:00 p.m.
700 Stewart Street
Fort Frances, ON