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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Les Amis Presents its view of Opemican Park Proposal

This Sunday June 10 in Temiskaming Sud Les Amis will be presenting at the Opemican Park Stakeholder hearings.

Tommy Allen will present on Sunday, Scott Sorensen will present on Saturday:

Some of our points...

1. The long running river festival
2. Les amis's legitimate right to be a stakeholder of record in all matters affecting the river.
3. Our demonstrated willingness to resort to legal means to secure our rights
4. Our service to the public: ie funding the kipawa river trail, public information website
5. Our ongoing arguments against turning the river into a dry gulch: you could mention the first paper I presented in Poland
6. Our support of extending the Kipawa river Trail across the river along the shores of Lake Temiskaming
7. The instance of no environmental assessement when the Bridge was reinstalled by TEMBEC: they destroyed the attainment eddy and the need to be consulted when changes to the river are planned or made
8. Our concern about power projects turning the river into a dry gulch
9. The opportunity that exists to use the dam at Laniel as a recreational resource

Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa and Opemican National Park 

Projet de parc national d’Opémican 

Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs Direction du patrimoine écologique et des parcs  
675, boulevard René-Lévesque Est, 4e étage, boîte 21  
Québec (Québec) ,G1R 5V7\ 

Titre du projet : parc national d'Opémican 

1. IDENTIFICATION: Présentez-vous 
Les Amis is a river preservation group. It is registered and incorporated in Quebec as a non profit organization. ie Groupe de citoyens  

incorporated as 1162209036 QUEBEC INC. 

Les amis’s mandate is to promote and preserve the historical and ecological values of the Kipawa River waterway, in part, as a destination for recreational white water kayakers, canoeists and rafters. One of its goals is to ensure this Canadian river continues to be preserved for sustainable tourism and enjoyed by recreational canoeists, kayakers and rafters in an ecologically sustainable manner now and into the future unaltered and undiminished, by human activity. 

Les amis presented historical navigation of the Kipawa River pertaining to the Laniel Dam Refurbishment  Project, the safety record associated with that navigation, and  the potential detrimental effects to navigation and safety and detrimental socio-economic effects that would be caused by it, unless mitigation measures were adopted to preserve navigability and minimize safety risk to users of the river. 

This resulting court case, a judicial review of the dam’s refurbishment designs, was taken to the point of application to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Les amis membership is approximately 500 rafters, kayakers, canoeists and other recreational white water paddling enthusiasts, who regularly navigate the Kipawa river. 

For Les Amis protecting recreational values means the following: promoting the area’s rich history and natural heritage; recognizing the river’s recreational use; and protecting and promoting the future tourism and recreation potential of the river and the region. Les Amis maintains the following website:  The website is a bilingual user-friendly website providing information about the Kipawa River as a destination for paddlers and a description of all of the rapids and a description of some of the threats faced by this river. 

2.Êtes-vous en faveur ou en défaveur du projet de parc national d'Opémican? 

Over the years, Les Amis has become recognized as a legitimate stakeholder concerning issues affecting the Kipawa River and watershed. Les Amis is In favour in so much as the project includes the Kipawa River and serves to protect and preserve its ecological, heritage and recreational values which is also the mandate of Les Amis. 

Located in the municipality of Laniel, Quebec, the Laniel Dam sits at the starting point, or the headwaters of the Kipawa River. The Kipawa flows west from Lake Kipawa and drains into Lake Temiscamingue, running approximately 16 kilometers from Lake Kipawa to where it empties into Lake Temiscamingue.  

3.Êtes-vous en accord avec la limite de parc proposée? 

Les amis are in favor of the proposed boundaries, in that they INCLUDE the Kipawa River and Exclude allowance for the Tabaret River Diversion Project. 

4.Avez-vous des suggestions susceptibles d'améliorer le projet? 

Les Amis suggests that the dam at Laniel be altered to allow navigation or alternatively a navigable sluice be created to preserve the navigable quality of the Kipawa at the site of the dam. 

Les Amis is in favour of continuing the Kipawa River Trail across the Kipawa and along the south side of the river and along the shores of Lake Temiskaming. 

We require that Les amis be registered as a permanent stake holder of the Opemican Park Project. All correspondence should be addressed to the following persons: 

Francois Diebolt, Treasurer 
5658 rie Beaulieu 
Montreal, QC 
H4E 3E3 

In English to 

Peter Karwacki, President 
Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa 
80 Ontario Street 
Ottwa, Ontario 
K1K 1K9 

5.Quels aménagements ou activités souhaitez-vous proposer? 

Expansion of the Kipawa River Festival 

Navigation of the Kipawa is promoted, in part, through Les Amis’s accessible website.  Additionally, river navigation is promoted through the organization of an annual river rally and festival, now in its 26th year. The rally attracts between 300 and 600 white water enthusiasts annually, principally from Ontario, Quebec and the United States. Passage around the Laniel Dam is the launch point for white water trips down the Kipawa River. 

The annual river rally is the opportunity for individuals to participate in commercially operated white water rafting trips on the Kipawa.  Individuals who are inexperienced white water kayakers or canoeists can still participate in and experience the exhilaration of white water rafting on the Kipawa with a safety-conscious, reputable and experienced white water rafting company, in commercially guided rafts.  Individuals who engage in rafting represent all ages, the oldest being 70-years-old. Commercial rafting trips are arranged, organized and run by Esprit Rafting, a commercial rafting company headquartered in Davidson, Quebec and operating principally on the Ottawa River. 

It is important to note that the Kipawa River Rally is solely run by Les Amis de la Rivière Kipawa. Les Amis takes and tracks all registrations, and collects all participation fees. The minimal involvement of the municipality in the rally has only occurred over the past four or five years. The regional municipality has never been involved in any way in the planning, funding or operation of the Kipawa River Rally, These organizations do not have the authority and are not qualified to speak for Les Amis or the paddling community in any way about the impact of denial of navigation rights on the Kipawa River Rally. 

Esprit Rafting provides rafting experiences to support the Applicant’s river rally.  Esprit Rafting has been taking rafters down the Kipawa river since 1988 without incident and this enterprise represents a significant economic activity for this Quebec based rafting company. The attraction of this river is growing, and in 2005, another rafting company, Momentum Outdoors began running commercial raft trips down the Kipawa, also starting out its trips, running the open sluice at Laniel. 

Les Amis seeks to preserve the navigation rights and heritage value of this navigable waterway. As a volunteer run not-for-profit  association Les Amis participates in good faith, in bringing forward relevant historical background to the responsible authorities to ensure that these values are preserved. 

6. Selon vous, y a-t-il des éléments de ce projet qui devraient être modifiés? Lesquels et comment? 

There should be no provision for Tabaret River Diversion Project. In addition, Les Amis strongly opposes diversion of water through the man made outlet at Gordon Creek or any other diversion that would cause the Kipawa River to become a dry gulch. 

PWGSC, the previous owner of the Laniel dame, historically enabled, facilitated and acquiesced in the navigation of the Kipawa River. This is evidenced by the 20-year history of annual negotiations between Les Amis and PWGSC to ensure sufficient water releases through the existing Laniel Dam for the holding of the festival although it did profess surprise during the consultation that the running of the river included passing through the Laniel Dam and denied any knowledge of river users navigating the Laniel Dam during the consultation process in March 2005. This chute was a Class III rapid that was runnable at all levels above 63 cms referencing Environment Canada (EC) flow data for 1997 to present, and above 90 cms referencing EC flow data for 1962 to 1996. 

As a result, Les Amis wants the managers of Opemican and the relevant Province of Quebec Ministries to be aware of the activities of Les Amis. That the Kipawa River is being navigated, that is it’s the site of the Kipawa River Rally, that there are a great many paddling enthusiasts and others that make use of the Kipawa River. 

Members of the white water paddling community, recreational and commercial, have been paddling the Kipawa River since 1968, including the chute through the sluiceway of the Laniel flood control dam up until its most recent refurbishment. 

Those who have run the Laniel Dam previously may be unaware of the increased risk now that the Laniel dam refurbishment Project is complete, or not understand the increased magnitude of the risk resulting from the Project.  The southern gate has a weir rising from the river bed. Currently, there is a re-circulating hydraulic formed on the river bed that would create an increased risk of drowning to recreational boaters. Prior to the Project there was no unacceptable risk of serious injury or death caused by navigation, evidenced by a perfect safety record in navigation by experienced white water enthusiasts.  But this final  Project changed all that. The bed of the river was altered.  The effective result of the Project was that should anyone attempt to navigate a craft through the southernmost gate after the Project, that person may, in fact, face  precisely the level of serious risk of injury and death, manufactured by PWGSC’s Project, which it claimed was unacceptable, but exists now the Project is complete.

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