Working Hard to Safeguard Paddling Assets for All Canadians

All about Whitewater

All about Whitewater
A Blog about River Preservation and the need to protect our free flowing whitewater resources

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Instructor Certification May 12 -13

Dave Gillespie and Carole Westwood will be conducting a Level II Instructors Course in Minden May 12 - 13. Candidates will be sent Chapter 8 to review before the course. Prerequisite: Current Level I WO Instructor certification, or current PC Level 1 Instructor Certification. (photocopy of certification required with payment/registration form). PC Candidates will have to purchase WO manual at the course to complete their notes ($35)

Monday, March 19, 2007

The problem with Environmental Assessments

Politicians are still just people. They are mostly honest, mostly over-worked, and often wrong.

Bureaucrates are also just people. They too are mostly honest and possibly over-worked, and if they were wrong.... don't you think they'd know it?

So lets look at the big cases, Mahar Arar, Almadi, The Adscam in Quebec, The Air India Inquiry, .... mistakes are being made and people are being affected.

Still, if you can help them to do the right thing, why not try?

At Issue.

Kipawa River Issues
What is at stake: If the Court accepts that the public right of navigation is a paramount right and that property owners should exercise their rights in such a way so as not to unecessarily interfere with the rights of navigation wherever possible; If the Court accepts that the de facto history and uncontradicted evidence is that the old dam did not completely obstruct navigation by canoe, raft and kayak and it must be conceded that it is technically possible to have a structure that serves the object of flood control but doesn't deny navigation; If the Court agrees that negatively impacting marine navigation is a significant environmental effect and if the Court agrees that CEAA requires that the government apply precautionary principles to development so as to minimize or avoid significant environmental effects such as the loss of marine navigation; and if the Court agrees that PWGSC started with the incorrect and immutable starting assumption that navigation is unsafe and illegal and that holding such a position caused it to be hostile to a stakeholder and minimize a stakeholder's views from the outset, that is in direct conflict with its statutory obligations and duties. Then, PWGSC started with incorrect assumptions and misconstrued its obligations from the very outset thereby causing it to view Les Amis as a mere nuisance and rendering the process a farce where only one conclusion was possible. If the Court agrees with that then, in fact, there was never a public consultation in the sense of dialogue or exchange, but simply a series of decrees or edicts. What PWGSC says was a consultation, Les Amis says was a sham and a farce. If the Court agrees with Les Amis, then the whole CEAA approval will collapse, the permits quashed and PWGSC will have to go back to square one.

**********Have a Nice Day**********

Environmental Assessments: How is that working for us?

Four main purposes of the CEAA

a) to ensure that the envirionmental effects of projects receive careful consideration before responsible authorities take actions in connection with them
b1) to encourage responsible authorities to take actions that promote sustainable development and thereby achieve or maintain a healthy environmental and healthy economy
b2) ensure that responsible authorities carry out their responsibilities in a coordinated manner with a view to eliminating unnecessary duplication in the environmental assessment process;
c)to ensure that projects that are to be carried out in Canada or on federal lands do not cause significant adverse environmental effects outside the jurisdictions in which the projets are carried out;
d)to ensure that there be an opportunity for public participation in the environmental assessment process. S4 of the CEAA

There are three assessment tracks:

Three tracks:
Screening: self assessment
Comprehensive studies
Independent review panels (warranted by public concern)

The problem with the CEAA is as follows:

About 6000 assessments per year from Jan 1995 to Jan 2000 of which 99% are screenings (page 4)

Use of the courts is necessary: for balance between different interests!

There are limited opportunities for meaningful public involvement in screenings and comprehensive studies.

Difficulty is created for the public in accessing information through public registries

What happened: The owners of the dam planned for a routine screening, initially unaware of a special circumstances surrounding their project. They were unable to respond to the evidence that did not fit their paradigm and original assumptions no matter what information was brought to their attention. The specific case did not fit into their understanding of the “class”.

Expecting only feedback from French users: the screening was to be conducted in French Only but most participation regarding this special issue was from English users.

The project in question is instrumental in a much larger river diversion project but the EA only deals with the smaller wedge issue of dam refurbishment.

The project in question adopted a coordinator but the coordinator did not serve to adequately address public concerns.

The CEAA was to promote greater use of mediation and dispute resolution but despite numerous requests for meetings with the Ministry Representatives no mediation was provided.

The issue here is that an exception arose and the system was unable to deal with it fairly and objectively:

What happened instead was:

At first the officials said that navigation of the sluice was illegal. Through public participation, it was shown to them that it was in fact legal.

Behind the scenes, outside the realm of public participation they proceeded to try and make navigation illegal or impossible, while moving on to say that navigation of the sluice was unsafe.

Through public participation it was shown that navigation was in fact safe.

Behind the scenes, outside the realm of public participation the responsible authorities proceeded try and establish that navigation was unsafe, trying to raise examples of dangers while continuing on with changes to navigable status when in fact navigable status had already been identified through an internal fact finding.

Finally, the officials proclaimed that the loss of navigation was insignificant and this finally becomes a matter for the court and largely a matter of opinion.

At this point: the Plaintiff, Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa had no recourse but to give up or launch a court action putting the whole of the environment assessment into question.

**********Have a Nice Day**********

Canadian Rivers

Canadian Rivers
I speak for river users too!

The Queen is not amused!

The Queen is not amused!

The Damned Dam - 2005 -

The Damned Dam - 2005 -
22nd Annual Kipaw Rally has modest turnout. - 23rd does better

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

Whitewater Ontario

Whitewater Ontario
Working Hard to Protect Canada's Paddling Resources

Whitewater Ontario - Mission Statement

It is Whitewater Ontario’s mission to support the whitewater paddling community through the promotion, development and growth of the sport in its various disciplines. We accomplish this through the development of events, resources, clubs, and programs for personal and athletic development, regardless of skill level or focus, to ensure a high standard of safety and competency; We advocate safe and environmentally responsible access and use of Ontario’s rivers. Whitewater Ontario is the sport governing body in the province, and represents provincial interests within the national body Whitewater Canada and the Canadian Canoe Association

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican
If Hydro Quebec is not actively pursuing Tabaret what is that bite out of Opemican for?

Kipawa Dam: After

Kipawa Dam: After
Laniel Dam at 2006 Rally

Where is the Kipawa

Where is the Kipawa
Kipawa flows into lake Temiskamingue, running from Kipawa Lake, under hwy 101 in Quebec

Kipawa Dam

Kipawa Dam
laniel dam at 2004 River Rally

Tabaret is a Bad Idea

About the Kipawa

The best thing paddlers can do to help the cause of the Kipawa:

1. attend the rally and bring others including non paddlers to attend and buy beer and have fun

2. write your MP /MNA and raise the issue and post your objections -1 letter = 200 who didn't write

3. Write Thierry Vandal the CEO of Hydro Quebec strongly opposing the 132 MW standard decrying the use of "diversion" as the most environmentally inappropriate method of power production

4. Write Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec protesting that either the algonquin or the tabaret project will eliminate all other values on the Kipawa River by turning it into a dry gulch.

5. See if you can get other allied groups interested by showing your own interest, ie the Sierra Defense Fund, Earthwild, MEC, and so on.

6. Demand further consultation

7. Currently we are at the point where we need to sway public opinion and raise awareness.

However, if all else fails, don't get mad, simply disrupt, foment, and protest . The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Have you read Edward Abbey?

Important Addresses
CEO,Hydro Québec, 75 boul René Levesque, Montreal, P.Q., H2Z

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Two)

Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa is poised to use an application to the Federal Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to ensure the Minster does what he is supposed to do, protect the public's right to navigate the water control structure at Laniel, Quebec using the Navigable Waters Protection Act. (see

In the now gutted Navigable Waters Protection Act lay the means by which the Minister of Transport could keep the public right of passage down our great Canadian Heritage, our rivers and streams which are threatened especially by resource corporations and power brokers such as Hydro Quebec.

These powerful entities continue to petition that 'this' river or 'that' stream is not navigable and therefore not protectable.
I don't say that dams and bridges should not be built, only that if they are, historical navigation rights should be considered and preserved by making reasonable accommodations for recreational boaters.

It is the Minister of Transport, in exercising the right to allow or disallow work on or over a navigable waterway is what keeps boats and recreational boaters plying our waterways.

To many recent cases launched in the Federal Court concerning the Navigable Waters Protection Act, most recently the case of the Humber Environment Group of Cornerbrook Newfoundland versus the Cornerbrook Pulp and Paper Company indicates that the important oversight is not being faithfully performed. Have we really come to the point now where we must say "such and such a stream is one foot deep, possessing so many cubic feet per second flow and so on?" The answer to this is... YES!

The honourable Mr. Justice John A. O'Keefe, ruled that it had not been shown that the river was navigable. How convenient was that to the Minister? But either the Minister of Transport acts to protect our rivers and streams as a public right or he does not and that means rivers and streams currently enjoyed by kayakers and canoists.

Enough of the cheating, and double-talk. Canadians! our rivers and streams are our own, lets urge the Minister of Transport and the our government to protect them.

Peter Karwacki

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Three)

10 Reasons WhyTabaret is a Bad Idea1) Tabaret is too big. The station is designed to useevery drop of water available in the Kipawawatershed, but will run at only 44 percent capacity.We believe the Tabaret station is designed to usewater diverted from the Dumoine River into theKipawa watershed in the future. 2) The Tabaret project will eliminate the aquaticecosystem of the Kipawa River.The Tabaret project plan involves the diversion of a16-km section of the Kipawa River from its naturalstreambed into a new man-made outflow from LakeKipawa. 3) Tabaret will leave a large industrial footprint on thelandscape that will impact existing tourismoperations and eliminate future tourism potential. 4) The Tabaret project is an aggressive single-purposedevelopment, designed to maximize powergeneration at the expense of all other uses. 5) River-diversion, such as the Tabaret project, takinglarge amounts of water out of a river’s naturalstreambed and moving it to another place, is verydestructive to the natural environment. 6) The Kipawa River has been designated a protectedgreenspace in the region with severe limitations ondevelopment. This designation recognizes theecological, historical and natural heritage value ofthe river and the importance of protecting it.Tabaret will eliminate that value. 7) If necessary, there are other, smarter and morereasonable options for producing hydro power onthe Kipawa watershed. It is possible to build a lowimpactgenerating station on the Kipawa river, andmanage it as a “run-of-the-river” station, makinguse of natural flows while maintaining other values,with minimal impact on the environment. 8) The Kipawa watershed is a rich natural resource forthe Temiscaming Region, resonably close to largeurban areas, with huge untapped potential fortourism and recreation development in the future.Tabaret will severely reduce this potential. 9) Tabaret provides zero long-term economic benefitfor the region through employment. The plan is forthe station to be completely automated andremotely operated. 10) The Kipawa River is 12,000 years old. The riverwas here thousands of years before any peoplecame to the region. The Tabaret project will change all that.

Problems on a local River?

  • There is more to do as well but you have to do your research and above all, don't give up.
  • IN the meantime prepared a document itemizing the history of navigation of this spot and its recreational value. Use the Kipawa river history of navigation as a guide: see
  • Under the Ministry of Environment guidelines you have a set period of time to petition the change under the environmental bill of rights, you may have limited time to take this action. But it involves going to court for a judicial review of the decision.
  • 4. contact the ministry of natural resources officials and do the same thing.
  • 3. contact the ministry of the environment and determine if they approved the project
  • 2. determine if the dam was a legal dam, approved under the navigable waters protection act.
  • 1. research the decision and timing of it to determine if an environmental assessment was done.

Minden Ontario

Minden Ontario
Gull River Water control at Horseshoe lake

A History of Navigation on the Kipawa River

Prior to the environmental assessment there was no signage at the Laniel Dam

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!
Send $25 and a stamped self addressed envelop for the Tshirt, and for the bumper sticker, a stamped and self addressed envelope with $5.00 for the bumper sticker to Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa, 80 Ontario St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 1K9 or click the link To purchase a Les Amis "T" contact Doug with the following information: Number of shirts:Sizes: Ship to Address: Method of Payment: cash, cheque and paypal, Shipto address:

Bumper Stickers Now Available

Bumper Stickers Now Available
Get your bumper sticker and show your support for the Kipawa Legal Fund ! - send $5.00 in a Stamped, self addressed envelope to: Peter Karwacki Box 39111, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 7X0