Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Save The Desert; Save The Falls

Posted April 11, 2009 by jim young in Politics

– jim young

I wonder if anyone ever thought to object to the building of the pyramids in the deserts of Egypt a few thousand years ago. I mean besides the slaves that were forced to build them or the servants that were buried in them when their pharaoh died even though they were still alive at the time.

Surely someone saw the pyramids as an eyesore on the otherwise beautiful, pristine horizons of the desert. And what purpose did they serve anyway but to give the pharaohs – who already got the best deal in this life, get a better shot at the next life too?

Couldn’t the materials and resources have been put to better use somewhere else?

And yet today they are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Currently a group of concerned residents are campaigning against Swift River Energy Limited to “Save The Bala Falls”.

Bala, a picturesque little town in the Muskokas in Northern Ontario is the proposed site of a small hydro project. And while no one seems to be objecting to the creation of the hydro site itself – there is a growing dispute on the hydro site’s proposed location.

Of course Bala would like to remain the picturesque little town they have always been. That the hydro plant will change this is a matter of opinion. Bala depends heavily on tourist dollars. But, like everyone else, they also depend on affordable and clean energy.

The “Save The Bala Falls” group is fighting to have the hydro site moved to the South Channel; a location that even their website admits might infringe on the rights of private landowners and comes with other challenges.

What the “Save The Bala Falls” group is not quick to point out is the proposed location by the Swift River Energy Limited was not proposed by the Swift River Energy Limited at all. The Ministry of Natural Resources chose the location as part of the terms and conditions of the Request for Proposals to which the Swift River Energy Limited responded.

Even so, after questions were raised about the South Channel location, the Swift River Energy Limited investigated and determined it would not be “technically or economically viable to pursue development of a power station” at the South Channel.

And let’s not forget that the proposed location which is owned by the Crown and not private landowners was “the site of a hydroelectric power station, built by Bala Light and Power, from 1924 until it was demolished in 1972”.

In “light” (pun intended) of this information it seems to me that the currently proposed location likely is the best. The Swift River Energy Limited has spent much time and energy in the past responding to their position.

The Swift River Energy Limited is a business trying to make a fair return on the service they are offering. Relocating to the South Channel as the “Save The Bala Falls” group is proposing would incur extra costs that would have to be absorbed by someone. And guess who that’s going to be? The people who are going to be receiving that generated hydro.

Will the “Save The Bala Falls” group be so quick to offer to offset these costs?

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