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, November 1, 2007

Report of the President to the AGM

Whitewater Ontario
Presidents Report to the Annual General Meeting
Best Western Hotel, Peter Borough, Ontario, November 3rd, 2007

This my first report to the membership as president of Whitewater Ontario. It seems, in retrospect that it was a busy year - I don't know where the time went.

Liability Insurance
The year started with an immediate requirement to provide membership information to Canoe Ontario for the purposes of renewing insurance coverage for our members. You may know that liability insurance premiums are based on membership numbers. The insurance itself indemnifies instruction sessions, exhibitions and races but not recreational outings. Recreational insurance may be available to WO members upon special application to Pearson Dunn insurance, broker for All Sports Insurance Package.
While recreational paddling members of WO have to mandatorily pay for insurance which they don't use I did try to have the insurance policy reviewed with no effect. The broker likes it as it is and we have precious other alternatives. We need this insurance for our races, we get $16,500 a year in grants from Canoe Ontario to support slalom racing, that is our primary mandate and that is what allows us to financially manage everything else we do - like it or not.
Recreational Paddlers
I remind the recreational paddling community that Whitewater Ontario, as a Non Governmental Organization provides a conduit to government on river preservation issues. Recreational Paddlers will benefit themselves and their sport by supporting Whitewater Ontario in a society where government tends to ignore the individual’s voice in favor of big business, big unions and big government. Having said that I recognize the volunteer contributions to many towards the Les Amis Kipawa Legal Challenge fund.

River Preservation Issues
I immediately started getting notifications from various sources advising that such and such a project is being foreseen on such and such river. I attempted to respond to these sorts of project notifications with a standard response:
1. That any environmental assessment should consider the historical use by recreational whitewater boaters
2. That reasonable accommodation and mitigation be incorporated into projects to allow navigation to continue unfettered
3. That a team of WO designated paddlers could be assembled at the project proponent's cost to determine the recreation merit of any river feature
4. That Whitewater Ontario wishes to be the stakeholder of record for all river projects in Ontario.
Especially the Ministry of Natural Resources was less than helpful in this regard. Their mandate appears to be the exploitation of resources to the exclusion of all other values besides power generation. Efforts must be ongoing, by registering WO as a contractor of record to gain access to the MNR's registry of designation sites, currently not publicly accessible.
The Judicial Review of the Kipawa River Laniel Dam refurbishment was heard in Federal Court on October 23 and 24 in the Supreme court building in Ottawa. It made me feel proud to be a Canadian. Robert Monti was able to distill in the judge an apprehension of government bureaucrats acting in the face of the CEAA and NWPA claiming that the invocation of section 6(4) of the NWPA flew in the face of public consultation.
I attended the Canadian Heritage River conference in Winnipeg at my own expense presenting a paper called: "Putting teeth in Environmental Assessment Screenings" in which I indicated that river preservationist needed to use the courts to ensure changes to the CEAA are made.
This year WO became registered as a member of the Ontario Environmental Network (OEN) which should help in our river advocacy initiatives. I was successful in getting the Water Caucus of the Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) to use the recreational value of whitewater as an issue for their meetings and discussions.

Financial Issues
Our Government Grant has been cut. Where is the wisdom in that? Our membership numbers are down, our costs are up, not the least of which is the insurance. Our office expenses were about 90% of our Provincial Grant and now they exceed our grant.
Our office expenses include accounting, phone, postage, website, for which we also get office continuity and support for meetings and a central point of contact for our members inquiries.
So we will have to examine ways to restructure our office functions/hours in light of the funding cut backs – or develop other sources of funding. We will continue to meet via teleconference as much as feasible considering the cost of transportation, this is our most economical alternative.

There was no 25th anniversary party. We lacked horsepower to make it happen but there is no shame in having a good 27th We continue to hope Victor Ettel will take on the job of Property Manager. In the interim Gary and Cammy have held the fort. How lucky we are to have them in our fold. We have garbage problems: the municipality has increased standards at its landfill so that recycling is mandatory: this is complicated by the fact that locals dump there trash in our bins. So much for no trace camping.
Over the summer I appointed Jeff Strano as VP of Marketing Operations hoping that he might use his local contacts in Minden to shake up some support for the preserve.
In addition, I made arrangements with Sir Sanford Flemming Recreation and Tourism Students to conduct Management and marketing studies for Minden Wildwater Preserve. Their final reports form a great resource for us but as for implementation: we lack funds. For this I have applied for a $35,0000 grant from MEC and in the next year I will also apply to the Trillium Foundation.
Orillia Light and Power advised us that our annual rent for the shoreline property at the take out has been increased to $200 a year plus GST and coinsured name on our liability policy held by Guthrie.
I conducted a work weekend in Minden with Gary George. He and I made modifications to the buildings plumbing to solve the dish washing problem. There were nine volunteers on May 22 and I issued each of them a monthly camping pass for June in appreciation.
There were some discussions concerning the safety training taking place on the Gull. I informed the users, of our expectations and I am certain that the trainers are very clear and amenable to our requirements.
Discussions were held with the Trent Severn Waterway to try and secure more regular releases and cooperation. A special task force was formed and discussions were held last winter.
Finally, we were successful in getting a Human Resources Student Grant for the summer. The presence of the student helped keep the property in good order while ensuring camping fees were properly collected.

The progress to form a joint program with Paddle Canada is ongoing. We were unable to start the program for the 2007 year due to previous agreements with ORCKA and Paddle Canada. Plans are underway to implement the new program for the 2008 instruction session. A proposal has been opened to form a Canoe Kayak Canada/Paddle Canada National program. Details in the VP-Instruction report

Club Development
Very little has happened on this front again owing to the lack of funds however there was considerable email traffic on boater board to try and stimulate interest in a new river preservation network. The importance of having a staff member working on this cannot be underestimated.
There was an effort to promote membership at the Toronto Outdoor Show. I am not convinced that this is working for us.
I made arrangements with the American Wildwater Affiliation. We are now a member. As a result all Whitewater Ontario members may receive a discounted individual membership.
I have operated my personal blog at offering commentary on current events for Whitewater Ontario and also Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa focusing on key river preservation issues.
Jim Tayler prepared the 2007 event book on a cost recovered basis.


We were successful in securing grant funding through the Provincial Quest for Gold program to hire a full time coach in Ottawa. This years racing program was expanded with new races and efforts to include open boat classes. At the high performance level Ontario athletes accounted for more than 50% of the boats winning places on the national Junior and Senior slalom teams. And Ontario won the Brian Greer Trophy as best province at the national championships.

Efforts to expand the racing program including club development in other parts of the province have been constrained by limited funding and in many regions, lack of local expertise or interest.


Future ideas include Whitewater Ontario registering as a contractor for National Defense and providing support for soldiers who have been de limbed below the waste. Kayaking can provide them with satisfaction and personal accomplish at the level of the able bodied.


Thanks to Donna Boadway for her excellent administrative support and Steve Pomeroy for keeping me honest in all my dealings, and Carol Westwood for keeping me straight on task, Jim Tayler for keeping me optimistic, and Gary George for giving me something to say more often than he would have liked. This has been a real team effort. Let’s forge ahead and create a new day for Whitewater Ontario.

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