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

Sunday, March 9, 2008

KIpawa River: To appeal or not to appeal

We are trying to save the Kipawa River's ecosystem from desecration, while fighting for navigation rights on Canadian waterways.

Our purpose is set out clearly in our constitution:

Our Mission
To protect the ecological and recreational values on the Kipawa River from Laniel to Lake Temiscaming.

To achieve this mission Les Amis will:

a) EDUCATE and INFORM people about the important historical, ecological, recreational, tourism, and heritage values on the Kipawa River.

b) PROMOTE the wise use and conservation of the natural resources of the Kipawa for broad, long-lasting benefit of people.

c) COLABORATE with the people of Laniel and Temiscaming Region in the development of innovative uses for the Kipawa river that will provide economic benefits while protecting the values of the Kipawa river for future generations.

d) ADVOCATE at all levels (through municipal, provincial and national governments) for the conservation of the Kipawa River as an aquatic ecosystem and an important natural resource, and actively pursue formal legal protection for the river through designation as a park or protected area.

The section of river we are concerned about is approximately 16km long, and runs from Laniel Quebec, to Lake Timiscaming.

Currently, there is a dam redevelopment project underway in Laniel. Our organization is not against the rebuilding of the dam, however, we feel the new design does not take into consideration a number of important ecosystem components; including the maintaining of historic river levels, and the preservation of navigation rights.

The organization has challenged the process in Federal court in the recent past. The decision that was handed down was against the organization. However, we have retained a lawyer to appeal the process.

This appeal will be the last activity of The Friends of the Kipawa, but it has national implications. It challenges what ecosystem considerations and activities should be brought into Environmental Impact Assessments for future dam developments.

We are looking to MEC to help us with in monetary funding and in-kind aid with communications.

Project Summary
We are appealing a Federal court decision regarding redevelopment of the Laniel Dam on the Kipawa River. We aim to prevent ecosystem desecration and preserve a safe 40-year navigation history.

Project Detail
Friends of the Kipawa have retained Rod Northey, of Birchall Northey to bring the appeal of our case before the court if that is what the executive of Les Amis so decides. Doing so will cost Friends of the Kipawa River legal fees and an unknown amount of money as we create publicity surrounding this case and unsustainable river development in Canada.

Friends of the Kipawa River brought the Laniel Dam redevelopment to the Federal court in the fall of 2007. We are not against the redevelopment of the dam, but seek a better design and operating regime that incorporates historical river levels for the preservation of the ecosystem and accommodation of the historical navigation rights of recreational river users.

In addition, if this project is not successfully challenged, it will become the cornerstone for a 130Mw hydro-electric project in the region that threatens to divert the majority of the water from the Kipawa river, through a blasted channel across the landscape between Lake Kipawa and Lake Timiscaming.

This project is not only significant to the Kipawa, but to rivers across Canada. With respect to dam development and sustainable project design, the case at Laniel has two notable areas of concern. The Environmental Assessment (EA) was not performed in the spirit of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and incorporation of the ecosystem’s needs, as well as the historic navigational rights, were not properly considered in the redesign.

With regard to the first area of concern, it has been widely recognized that to create more sustainable projects, diverse stakeholder interests must be recognized. The Federal government, as owners of the dam, were able to propose the redevelopment, perform the EA in-house, approve their own findings and move forward with construction. The spirit of the CEAA was to generate the most sustainable project results. A closed process that lacks the presence of safeguards and criticism, surly cannot fulfill this spirit and must be challenged.

Second, the proponents failed to incorporate the navigational rights of the river. The recreational users interests were marginalized in the process and public input was disregarded and interests in design were ignored. Even with a safe 40-year history of navigating the river by watercraft, the government lawyers unfairly classified the practice as dangerous. They, however, granted motorized vehicles such as ATVs and snowmobiles design considerations – without any speculation on the dangerous of their activities. With a successful appeal, this case can create an important precedent for the inclusion of recreational river users and navigation rights within EAs and river project developments.

- Without this case going forward in court, and sufficient public attention being drawn to it, river development such as this may go unchecked and natural capital forever destroyed.

- There will be hundreds of river users who will benefit from this direct case if the appeal is won, in addition to the local community who will benefit from the continuation of the river festival. Beyond the Kipawa River, we hope that this case will help garner respect for recreational users when it comes to any river development across the country.

- This case is about the minimization of impact from a project. We are fighting for preservation of navigation rights, which should translate into historic river levels and temperatures being maintained.

- There are a large number of Members of the organization behind this. In addition to this there is a dedicated core of executives committed to this fight as well as approximately 15 or so volunteers who have helped coordinate funding and administration tasks. This is aside from river festivals that have taken place, and will hopefully take place again in the future.

- Our administration fees are very low, the majority of costs are associated with the current legal proceedings and public awareness campaign.

evaluation of success?

With public awareness campaigns, we will monitor and base success on amount of coverage and response. The legal case success will hinge upon public support and our lawyers abilities.

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