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, November 11, 2009

Our Concern Regarding New NWPA Regulations

In general our concerns relate to the arbitrary and off hand treatment of socalled minor waters. We are very much offended by the means by which the Navigable Waters Protection Act has been amended: buried in the Omnibus budget bill as it was.

Recreational boaters naturally see minor waters, those with steeper gradients, greater sinousity, and with more frequent obstacles or variations in depth less that the limits are still considered "fun".

Parenthetically, minor waters also happen to be habitat for wildlife and often are the "sources"/headwaters of more navigable waterways.

We do not want these resources taken away, dammed, removed from public access, polluted, harmed or disfigured based on some arbitrary action by a Government of Canada transport official without public input. We know from experience this will not guarantee a public right but it does slow things down and put an element of uncertainty into the developers cost/benefit equations.

I am speaking from the standpoint of Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa Judicial Review of the Laniel Dam refurbishment.

In that case, enthusiasts were legally navigating an illegal dam and illegal boom for over 40 years only to see that right of naviagation arbitrarily squashed by government authorities, includingTransport Canada authorities, that claimed that they acted illegally, or unsafely or insignificantly.

Worse, Les Amis, as a not for profit organization from Quebec, which dared to stand up for its rights is now asked to pay $5,000 in court costs.

How can any natural resource stand up to exploitation with the odds so heavily stacked against them? How can the public, that depends on due process, fairness and common sense act to protect their heritage?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Access to Elora Gorge Threatened by Private Project

Members of the local paddling club are moblizing to take action to preserve the access trail.

Can we specify a new Class: a paddling environmentalist's class of rivers?

Rivers are clearly endangered:... but Kenneth Hahn said:

The idea of designating certain waterways is an idea that I believe merits serious consideration. A couple of points worth considering:

1. It would be cumbersome to explicitly designate specific waterways in the regulations because new waterways could only be included if the regulations were re-approved, which is an onerous project.

2. It would be better to identify classes of designated waterways. For example, if Environment Canada had a designation of 'extremely ecologically sensitive' one could make a statement in the NWPA proposed regulations that "all waterways designated as extremely ecologically sensitive by Environment Canada" cannot be considered a minor navigable water.

3. This is an extremely preliminary discussion because I don't know if this type of categorization is possible, or even if the NWPA is the appropriate place for it. Perhaps Environment Canada should designate waterways and the possible consequences.

I think it is worth pursuing - even though nothing may come of it.

I am certain that interested parties and stakeholders have other such intriguing ideas that could be very important in shaping the regulations.

Regarding your questions concerning the degree of malleability, in my discussions with management, all the criteria for the existing minor works and waters are on the table, as is the list of minor works and waters. It can be extended (for example, in BC, proponents want mooring buoys considered as a minor work) or reduced.

... he's drafting the regulations: this is our chance to save your river, section of river and so forth

I'm trying to get a meeting with Mr. Hahn organized with the Canadian Environmental Network's Water Caucus of which I am a member.

I cannot emphasize this anymore strongly: if you think that pipeline crossings, dredging are threats to sections of navigable waters, forget minor waters.

The act is passed, we now need to impact the regulations not sleep walk through this.

Minor waters, you know, 200 meters long? Average width less than 1.2 meters, average depth less than so and so, complete with obstructions....too much sinousity,
BADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD Stuff where paddlers are concerned .

For example, if Environment Canada had a designation of 'extremely ecologically sensitive' (significant socio economic impact?) one could make a statement in the NWPA proposed regulations that "all waterways designated as extremely ecologically sensitive by Environment Canada" cannot be considered a minor navigable water.

Interested parties and stakeholders must have other such intriguing ideas that could be very important in shaping the regulations.

My suggestions: get your club or group to name recreationally valuable stretches of water as exclusions in the regulations.

This is the fellow you must contact:

Ken Hahn
Project Manager - Regulatory Development / Gestionnaire de projet - Développement Réglementaire
Navigable Waters Protection Program / Programme de protection de eaux navigables
Marine Safety, Tower C, Place de Ville / Sécurité maritime, Tour C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street, 10th Floor, AMSEG / 330, rue Sparks, 10ième étage, AMSEG
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N8
Telephone/Téléphone: 613-998-6442
Fax/Télécopieur: 613-998-0637

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