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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ontario MNR policy on Navigable Beds

Policy No. PL 2.02.02
Date Issued
February 26, 2007

Based on the Canoe Ontario ruling, the Ministry of Natural Resources, in addition to considering the above noted seven conclusions, will be guided by the following key points when making navigability decisions for administrative purposes:

1. For purposes of determining navigability, the Ministry position will only be finalized after considering the issue of navigability from the perspective of both the date of inspection and the date of letters patent. The necessity to consider navigability from both perspectives arises because the courts have historically considered navigability at the date of the grant, but it is possible, but not certain that future decisions will reflect only the current situation

2. Navigability depends on "public utility".

3. Public utility means actual or potential commercial or recreational use, or other
"socially beneficial activity".

4. Generally, the waterway should run from one point of public access to another point of public access.

5. Seasonal limitations do not detract from navigability as long as there is some use (or potential use) which is regular and which has practical value.

5.0 References
5.1 Legal
• Beds of Navigable Waters Act, RSO 1990
• Canoe Ontario vs. Julian Reed (1989) 69 OR 2d 494
• Coleman vs. A.G. For Ontario (1983) 143 DLR (3rd) 608
5.2 Directive Cross References
• PL 2.09.02 Navigation – A Public Right (Bulletin)

Findings of the Canoe Ontario vrs. Julian Reed Case: also applicable to MNR decisions

Justice Doherty accepted the following seven conclusions reached previously in the Coleman Case:

(i) navigability in law requires that the waterway be navigable in fact. It must be capable in its natural state of being traversed by large or small craft of some sort;

(ii) navigable also means floatable in the sense that the river or stream is used or is capable of use for floating logs or log rafts or booms;

(iii) a river may be navigable over part of its course and not navigable over other parts;

(iv) to be navigable, a river need not in fact be used for navigation so long as it is realistically capable of being so used;

(v) a river is not necessarily navigable if it is used only for private purposes or if it is used for purposes which do not require transportation along the river (i.e., fishing);

(vi) navigation need not be continuous, but may fluctuate with the seasons; and

(vii) where a proprietary interest asserted depends on a Crown grant, navigability is
initially to be determined as at the date of the Crown grants

Priorities for Whitewater Ontario

Whitewater Ontario executive members work well together.

All boaters, slalom and otherwise need moving water.

WO to working towards providing scheduled recreational water releases on the Gull at Minden

With the limits of funding Whitewater Ontario is working to develop improved rodeo features there.

Whitewater Ontario is a supporter of the the Whitewater Park, hosting slaloms, training.

Rodeos, free boat, will benefit from scheduled releases to make stuff happen.

Whitewater Ontario has an awesome resource, and plan on making it better for all.
The same goes for the Tail Race project in Ottawa.

WO is special as it is the sole sport governing body for COMPETETIVE whitewater paddle sport in Ontario.

Whitewater Ontario needs to maximize its exposure, increase usage, promote the
sport, get a focused coaching program, and a dedicated instructional program. This needs to happen in all parts of Ontario.

Whitewater Ontario also needs to deal with the matter of insurance so that racing members do not incurr unecessary costs for non racing members.

Its all about Access

Keep in mind that the Kipawa is being altered at the Dam. And the ultimate issue is its proposed diversion by the Tabaret project and the need for EA screening assessments to be open, honest, mitigate significant environmental effects, with due process: a river access issue.

The dam by fluke or design became a world class runnable sluice and remained that way for over 40 years and a key stone to the Kipawa River Rally now in its 21st annual rendition.

The refurbishment which is being contested concerns the new dam, minimum releases (water levels), loss of a significant paddling experience, but ultimately if we can keep the water in the sluice... we can keep the water in the river.

Very few cases like the kipawa come up which are so well documented, in which volunteer group(s) can come together, organize and launch a case. Usually the timing on EA Judicial review is much too tight and people are just to busy or there is simply no money.

Instructor Symposium

The Whitewater Ontario Instructor Symposium and Recertification weekend is coming up in April 2007. See attached for details or go to for further information and registration.

Thank you
Whitewater Ontario
905 985-5256 (fax)

How to improve Whitewater Ontario

Attract "FreeBoaters" on the Gull.Build credibility with these "FreeBoaters"

We're watching the numbers shrink, how do we make the membership grow and become a force for river preservation?

We need to do a better job at all of keeping people appraised of
what we're up to what we do over a year and how we're involved with things.
Emphasize the the list of benefits for membership

a new Whitewater Ontario Journal. Improve the website info / Communication.

Meetings: spend more time communicating with
each other in teleconference in a general forum.

Event booklet: Make it more timely: circulate it widely
Website: get more active content


The Kawartha Club has removed itself from affiliation recently not seeing any value in having some insurance policy that only comes into play under very limited circumstances.

Bakes sales to fund Judicial Reviews of Environmental Assessments

I have an announcement about a Judicial Review Fund Raiser: Don't you think its inappropriate to have to sell Bakery to challenge decisions made according to the CEAA:

Kipawa Benefit Concert – The Rhino Club Toronto – 31 March 2007 $15

The Kipawa River, history, legacy, environmental gem, whitewater phenomenon…. You could go on about this magnificent natural marvel for some time. That’s just what Les Amis de la Rivière Kipawa has been doing. This determined group has worked tirelessly to protect the River that is heartblood of Temiscaming region.

Whitewater Ontario, Montréal’s whitewater club (CCKEVM), private whitewater organizations and concerned individuals from all over Ontario and Quebec have thrown their weight behind Les Amis. Together, in less than a year, they have raised more than $23k. to support the legal effort aimed at preserving navigation rights on the Kipawa. The estimated remaining legal obligations amount to $7k. Les Ami’s treasurer, François Diebolt says “Les Amis has about $6k in the bank today”. Says Diebolt, “We are close, but remember we still have a rally to run”.

A legal victory will protect a river that is a crucial element of local environment. Lac Temiscaming’s fishery and related business along with cottagers, outfitters and all the natural inhabitants of the region stand to lose a great deal if a diverted Kipawa sterilizes the traditional ecosystems

What is the threat? Hydro Québec and private hydro interests propose to dewater much of the river. The effect would be huge, lost sport fisheries, lost outfitting businesses, lost species and little long-term benefit for the surrounding communities. These communities need a healthy river ecosystem for most of what they have come to know in business and leisure. So the issue is much larger than a few paddlers missing a favourite whitewater run.

That brings us to Saturday night, The Rhino Club, Toronto, the venue of a Les Amis’ special Kipawa Benefit Concert Caledonia, Vacuity and This Crooked Mite are some of the bands who will lead an evening of music and partying. All the proceeds will go to protect the Kipawa River. Members of each band are themselves whitewater enthusiasts and supporters of the Kipawa.. Join them in Saturday and you won’t be disappointed.

On-line purchases
Peter Karwacki
Application Developer III, Engineering Support
Office: (613) 738-1338, ext. 3229

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