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 15, 2007

Heart's Desire Weir on Jock River: Paddler Feedback Needed

Spring view with weir installed

Spring view

For all paddlers who have an interest in our issue at the Hearts Desire Weir.

There was a public meeting on November 5th. I did not attend but I have paddled the Jock.

Frankly, use of the Hearts Desire site by kayakers and canoeists has not been high on the list of issues that PROJECT MANAGERS are trying to come to grips with at this site. Having said that…

They are well aware that this reach of the Jock River is well-used by whitewater enthusiasts in the post-freshet period of late March to early May, when the weir is not in place. They wonder if the H-beam stubs projecting out of the concrete sill of the structure (see picture below) are perceived by kayakers and canoeists as hazardous. (Any comment?)

So the Weir is taken out and then put back in May 2007 – before the weir is installed

They are also aware that infrequently when summer flows are high enough the structure could be attractive to whitewater enthusiasts. An experienced canoeist drowned at the site in 1986 under high flow conditions similar to those shown below (September 10, 2004 – after the remnants of Hurricane Frances – 135 mm of rain ending an extended period of dry weather); the ensuing Coroner’s Jury recommended the weir be decommissioned unless it is serving a significant purpose - otherwise signage and safety measures should be installed (the former City of Nepean and Hearts Desire community indicated at the time that they wanted the operation of the weir to continue, the RVCA complied with their wishes, improved the warning signs and now anchors an orange and white buoy line upstream in the summer).

RVCA (Rideau Valley conservation authority)

They project managers are attempting to formulate a course of action that will eventually lead the RVCA’s Board of Directors to a policy decision about this structure –continue operating it as it has been operated for the past 32 years, retire and decommission it, or modify it in some way – THey are trying to balance a number of considerations including:

upstream erosion rates and bank instability (with the weir vs. without the weir)
upstream flood risks (with the weir vs. without the weir)
aquatic ecosystem condition (with the weir vs. without the weir)
amenity/aesthetic value of the river to the local communities (with the weir vs. without the weir)
economics – there are no funds at our disposal with which to undertake extensive investigations or modifications of the structure; meanwhile, retiring the structure would reduce operating costs by about $6,000/year and eliminate some occupational health and safety risks
compliance with applicable legislation

From my input, I have emphasized that they should also include this consideration:

[b]recreational (whitewater) potential of the river (with the weir vs. without the weir)

I wonder if it’s possible, from a whitewater enthusiast’s point of view, to identify the preferred state of the river at this site - would it be preferable to let it run naturally all year long, or should we continue to install the weir for the May to October period, or would it be desirable to modify the structure in some way?

Any input you could offer to these questions would be very much appreciated.

For more information:

Bruce A. Reid, P.Eng., Director
Watershed Science and Engineering Services
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
1128 Mill Street
Manotick, Ontario
K4M 1A5
Phone: (613) 692-3571 ext. 1103
Fax: (613) 692-0831


We only get one good shot at something like this. I need your comments and feedback

President Pete
Whitewater Ontario


On the Stewardship page of American Whitewater one may see that every state in the U.S. has a recreational use law that basically says landowners owe no duty of care to whitewater paddlers. Basically it places the responsibility on the paddler for his or her own choices. So landowners have no worries about being sued.

In the Kipawa Judicial Review we asked the Crown whether they would allow use in the future if there was no concern about liability and the lawyer would not let the witness answer. But it certainly would make landowners care a whole lot less about what paddlers do around structures if they didn't have to worry about being sued. On the Bottom Moose river in Old Forge New York Fortis energy do not try to prevent kayakers and canoeists from going over their dam. That is an 18 foot vertical drop into a pool, with a Class IV run out. It is significantly harder than the Kipawa or anything else proposed for the Jock river.

We don't see any similar legislation in Ontario exempting landowners from this duty of care. I think a good place to start is a joint letter from organizations such as Whitewater Ontario, local paddling clubs and an organization like the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority to try and get this issue elevated.


THis is an important issue for Whitewater Ontario.

The design of a weir, a water control structure must not adversely impact recreational whitewataer paddling.

I attached a paper I wrote on this topic.

I also believe that Cour des Bois and Ottawa River Runners may have their own view of this matter.

Les amis de la riviere Kipawa has just gone to Federal Court over issue exactly of this nature. see or


Peter Karwacki, V.P., Les Amis De La Riviere Kipawa
Address: BOX 39111, Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 7X0
Work: 613-738-1338 x3229 Email:


From: Charles Billington []
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2007 11:31 AM

Good morning- Pasted below is a story that may interest your readers/listeners. Thank you for your consideration.

Charles Billington

Director, Community Relations

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

(613) 692-3571 ext 1116

1-800-267-3504 ext 1116

Media Release October 25, 2007

Public Meeting to Discuss the Future Operation of
the Hearts Desire Weir

Hearts Desire, October 25, 2007 — The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) is reviewing its current operation procedures for the Hearts Desire Weir on the lower Jock River near Prince of Wales Drive and is looking for public input. A public meeting is being held Monday, November 5, 2007 from 7– 9 p.m. at the Stonebridge Golf and Country Club.

This public meeting will provide local residents with background information about the weir along with technical and community viewpoints regarding the future need of the weir. Speakers from the Conservation Authority, Hearts Desire Community Association, Stonebridge Community Association, City of Ottawa — Parks and Recreation and Friends of the Jock River will make presentations and answer your questions.

The RVCA has operated this seasonal weir since the early 1970’s. Today, the need for continuing its operation is in question. A look at the current conditions (erosion, water quality, fish habitat), pressures and community interests is necessary. A future course of action will be formulated based on feedback received at this meeting.

- end -

For more information, contact:
Diane Downey
RVCA Community Relations Manager
613-692-3571 ext. 1126


No comments:

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