residents pour their hearts out ---with clear message: "Do it
Willola Beach Notice of the Meeting
manipulates Chats Falls
bypass issue at Corporate Services Committee
Services …Committee has short-changed Willola Beach residents,
again. Will full Council correct this fatal flaw, August 25th?
At the August 17th Meeting of the Corporate Services and Economic
Development Committee, some of the councillors tried their
level best to have a fair resolution of the Chats Falls-Willola
Beach matter, but the meeting was stacked in favour of the
proponents …who had neither provided adequate information to
residents, nor had given
any valid or factual arguments, at the committee meeting, to support their case.
After the Willola
were subjected to several of the usual manipulative strategies to
discount and stifle, (including the familiar trick of running
several proponent and their advocate-speakers last in sequence, to
close), Committee Chair, Mayor Chiarelli, then cast his
tie-breaking vote in support of the proponents.
are a few of the misrepresentations that were presented at the
Corporate Services Committee, and refuted by the Willola Beach
residents and speakers from other respected organizations (i.e.:
Sierra Club, Ottawa River Keepers, Greenspace Alliance and the Rural
…AND HERE’S THE TRUTH:
inferred that NO Federal EA was required.
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is administered by the
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA.) The CEAA is an
independent agency that reports directly to the Minister. The
Act requires federal departments, including Environment Canada,
agencies, and crown corporations to conduct environmental
assessments for proposed projects where the federal government
is the proponent. It also requires
environmental assessments when the project involves federal
funding, permit or license."
inferred that NO Provincial, (Municipal Class) EA was required.
should have been a full, Municipal Class Environmental Assessment done to
consider all of the available route options, as well as to
assess all of the Environmental impacts (including the “Social
Environmental Impacts” upon the potentially affected residents).
Class EA would have most certainly eliminated Willola Beach as
an option, and may be the principal reason that it was not
performed, at the beginning ---as should have been the case.
Rather than opening the
unopened road allowance, (which would have required an EA to be
performed), the city has contrived to circumvent due process by issuing a
permit (to a private "involvement"), for PUBLIC USE of a
roadway, on PUBLIC LAND, paid for with PUBLIC FUNDS.
This contravenes the the spirit and intent
of the EA process, which is there for the very purpose of
protecting the environment and the public interest.
said they had mailed the requisite notices to the Willola Beach
Beach residents emphatically stated, that is false: they had NOT
received any notices, (and are challenging the Proponents to
show dated postal receipts to support their incorrect claim.)
claim that the Chats Falls bypass was so vital, because it was
the very last link in the chain of obstructions on way to St.
Lawrence Seaway access.
conveniently left out Deschanes Rapids (Aylmer) and the EB
Eddy dam in central Ottawa.
Proponents said that there would be NO environmental impacts, on
the Willola Beach site, if completed.
River Keepers, Siera Club (environmental watchdogs), and
Greenspace Alliance beg to
differ, saying that there would be significant negative impacts
to the site, and that the Proponents would have no way of
knowing, the full potential of fish habitat damage, or potential
damage to any rare species present, without the proper
environmental assessments being done.
Experts say there would likely be
significant "silting-in" downstream from the
150-metre rock berm,
which would substantially alter the aquatic habitat of the area.
Proponents claimed that the Willola Beach option was the only
also claimed that if the city withdraws its funding, the
project would die, and tourism would be severely hurt.
Mayor of Quyon, has stated that the Quebec side
of the River has far better infrastructure than the Ontario
2.) he is quite eager to proceed with the project
---in the location it was meant to go, in the first place.
Ferry Road option has been described by everybody (except the
Proponents) as the least disruptive option on the Ontario side of
the River ---because the water is much deeper, there, making a
long berm, (with its corresponding environmental damage), unnecessary.
One has a contractual obligation to fully fund the the
bypass, as part of its Chats Falls Power Station
construction agreement. Hydro One should fulfill its
obligation, on its own.
The city of
Ottawa should be putting these tax dollars back into our
budget, to help with our under-funded core services.
concerns were marginalized by the Proponents, with the argument
that there would be ---ONLY--- 5 to 10 vehicles-hauling-boats per day,
traveling through the community.
residents expressed grave concerns about the city's and the
Proponents disinterest in child safety. Residents argued, "Why have
any risk, if it can be avoided with one of the other safer alternatives".
Residents were clearly supportive of there being a boat
by-pass ---of some sort. They simply feel that an honestly-performed Environmental
ALL of the options--- must be completed, in order to clearly define a
route that satisfies both the environmental and the safety concerns.
Without these measures, there is an
"appearance" portrayed, that all of the disregard for
environmental and safety concerns (in specifically fast-tracking
the Willola Beach option), could possibly be designed merely to
benefit a few contractor-developers ..."and their political friends".
That "appearance" must be dispelled
by undertaking thorough Environmental Asessments. (As Councillor
Rob Jellett said, at the August 17th Committee Meeting: "I
wouldn't even be able to get a speed-bump installed, on a street
in my ward ...without an
bypass solution makes the most sense?
Complete construction of locks
on the Quebec side, and use them:
would cost roughly another $2-million to complete the locks.)
- The Quyon
side already has partially constructed locks and canal system.
- There is other
supporting infrastructure there as well (i.e. docking capability).
Would allow passage
of sail boats and many large craft which could not access the
existing plan. (The Willola Beach proposal would allow passage of
less than 4% of the boats on the River.)
- The Mayor
of Quyon wants to have it there.
- There would
not be any negative environmental impacts, or risk to child
safety, only overall benefits.
Use the Ferry Road docking
- It is
already on an approved higher-volume-traffic road.
The water is much
deeper at the Ferry Road Dock, than at the Willola Beach location
---making a long berm unnecessary.
location would have the least environmental impacts of any of the
alternatives on the Ontario side of the river.
would not put the safety of any community's children at risk.
Work could be completed, and the site made operational, more
quickly ---due to fewer hurdles to overcome--- than at Willola
- This site
would be more cost effective for taxpayers (short-term and
What is wrong with the current
The way the motion now stands: The
City is able to say, "We tried to get Federal and Provincial
Environmental Assessments done, but the relevant agencies were not
interested, therefore, we will proceed -without further delay- to
develop the Willola Beach site."
The City's track-record in such
matters, has been very problematic. The mayor should very-well know, the mere fact
that the City and the Proponent have already
tried to circumvent due process by fast-tracking the Willola
Beach site without doing the Federal and Provincial Environmental
proof enough, that the existing motion
needs to be amended to EXCLUDE the Willola Beach site as an option,
IF full and proper (Federal and Provincial) Environmental
Assessments are NOT completed, which will consider ALL of the
available options (including the locks-completion, and the
Georgian Bay Canal ---on the Quebec side
of the river, as well as the Ferry Road option on the Ontario side
of the river).
Due to all of
the obvious environmental and safety negatives relating to the Willola Beach option, the city's own Environmental Advisory
Committee is in favour of abandoning the Willola Beach site
altogether. This is sound advise, the City would do well to heed.
It is hoped, for the Council
Meeting of August 25th (when this comes up), that the wisdom of the
Council as-a-whole will be sufficient to protect the environment
---with the adequate application of due process--- and protect the wellbeing of
the citizens of the Community of Willola Beach --- in fulfillment of
its duty to serve the public
"Letters to the Editor" - Re: Corporate Services Committee
Meeting - (Aug 17/04)