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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Green Party Leader Zooms in on Baird

Greens accuse Harper Government of Planning Gutting of Conservation Legislation OTTAWA-- With the Conservative Government's announcement of upcomingchanges to environmental legislation, including the EnvironmentalAssessment Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the GreenParty of Canada is worried that important safeguards will bedismantled.

"We would agree that the Environmental Assessment process in Canadaneeds revision," said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party ofCanada, "but that doesn't mean throwing out important legislation.The problem right now is that the legislation is seen as an obstacleto development instead of a meaningful part of the developmentprocess. Strong environmental legislation has been proven by Porterstudies at the Harvard School of Business to result in a strongereconomy."

The biggest problem with the assessment process may be that theconsultants who carry out the assessments are hired by the proponentof the project. Often, the reports are written in such a way as todownplay any environmental impacts.

"It's a little like leaving thefox in charge of the henhouse," said Ms. May. "However, thelegislation plays an important role and the parts that are workingmust be upheld."

The Shape of Things to come

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 has been the Minister of Transport, in exercising the right to allow or disallow work on or over a navigable waterway that kept boats and recreational boaters plying our waterways.

The 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 indicate that the important oversight of the MOT is not being faithfully performed - why, the very person in charge of the National NWPA is bending over backwards to issue permits: David Osbaldeston. Refer to his testimony in the trans committee.

"We've not had a lot of push-back from the recreational canoe and kayak associations. I'm aware of the association that has provided the brief--the Friends of the Kipawa--and I think I've mentioned before that we are in litigation with them over a certain situation right now, which doesn't need to be discussed here.
However, I think the essence of the canoe and kayak situation is that the recommendations we have proposed here or the concepts we have here for review we don't think limit their paddling or kayaking capability. Indeed, we outlined to you previously--I believe it was in our March letter, which we sent to you--what type of criteria we would be considering if we were going to take a look at non-navigable waterways, and it would be water that was too shallow to paddle and too narrow to paddle, or you'd be going back and forth and sideways so often in such a short span of time that it wouldn't be reasonable. You wouldn't be going forward or have any forward progress. Or it would be too steep, if it were waterfalls. It's that sort of thing. That's not where the agencies for reasonable canoeists or kayakers are canoeing or kayaking, so we would see a very limited impact, if any.”

Here is another Gem from Dave...

In a changed act,
"…you could come to us and maybe we'd review it and issue you one document for the 3,000 bridges--maybe…”

What is the veracity of this exchange?

Mr. Brian Jean (TRAN 30/3 juin 2008-§1215) :

“…But to be fair, is there anywhere in this that we are proposing to reduce any navigation by Canadians—for instance, for canoeists, etc.? Have you heard anybody here today or anybody prior to this in dealing with the Navigable Waters Protection Act say that we want to reduce navigation in Canada?”

Mr. David Osbaldeston:

“No, absolutely not. Our mandate stays the same, and that is to protect the public right of navigation.”

Public Action Necessary from Paddling, Environmental and Recreational Groups.

Public Action Necessary from Paddling, Environmental and Recreational Groups.

All groups are encouraged to publish a statement describing the effectsthe proposed changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act will have on affected small

One might mention that they provide habitat for a diverse varitety of species, some rare.

-urban environmentalist groups
-hunt/fish groups
-professional (out fitters/lodges)
-Small boat users/builders/marinas,
-Aborigonal groups

Make the point that dams, booms, weirs and bridge sites on public land revert to the public thereby requiring decommissioning plans
in the same way a quarry or mine would. Show the public there is no economic value of selling the
land cheaply. Vocal support is needed to show the that the current plans to change the NWPA are wrong headed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

National Post Reports that the Navigable Waters Protection Act is to be revised by the Conservative Minority Government:

Not News, the TRAN committee has been in session for the past year deliberating on this very subject.

Government is Fixated on updating the NWPA

The NWPA is one of the few pieces of legislation left that protects our environment oddly enough. It slows down development but given the extreme prejudice against the environment being routinely displayed in Northern Alberta against such rivers as the Athabasca as a result of the tarsands, don't you think that slowing things down a bit... might be a good idea?

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