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 1, 2012

Discussing changes to the NWPA - the barn door is open, the horse ran back in, and the barn is on fire!
Diving into Navigable Waters
Bruno Schlumberger, Ottawa Citizen
Photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger , The Ottawa Citizen
Does the federal government have a role to play in construction of the 
cottage docks and waterslides of the nation?
Canada’s Navigable Waterways Protection Act — which dates back to 1882 
and was brought in under Sir John A. Macdonald — says the federal 
government has a role in anything that could interfere with the 
navigation of Canada’s lakes, river and ocean shores. Common law 
supports that. The federal government, which is attempting to streamline 
the act as part of its latest omnibus budget bill, says its current role 
is far too broad.
The federal government has a point that the act, whose purpose is to 
protect the public’s right to navigation, is ripe for tweaking or even 
major amendments. Should it really be an issue for the federal 
government what size docks are (in some cases) or whether de-icing 
bubblers are installed near them?
Still, the federal government has failed to clearly make the case about 
how it is going about changing the 130-year-old act, except to say that 
it is cutting red tape and the changes are being welcomed by many 
municipalities. “A new streamlined approach to navigation law will cut 
red tape while resources are focused on Canada’s busiest waterways,” 
Transport Minister Denis Lebel wrote in the letter to the Citizen. 
Earlier, he told the House of Commons, “This act has created a 
bureaucratic black hole, holding up simple projects that do not impede 
Cutting red tape can cover a multitude of sins and should not be offered 
as a catch-all explanation for doing away with government oversight. In 
many cases red tape — even the most annoying kind (think airport 
security) — serves a necessary purpose. The real test is whether acts 
and laws achieve a necessary goal and do so without causing further 
harm. Lebel argues that the act causes harm by holding up simple 
projects, but is it also preventing harm?
The act was amended in 2009 to remove most minor works — including many 
cottage docks — and minor waterways, a change that made sense. The 
government now proposes removing most lakes from protection under the 
act. The new act, contained in the government’s second omnibus budget 
bill, includes a list of 97 lakes, 62 rivers and three oceans that 
retain protection under the act. For the remaining thousands of lakes in 
the country, there would no longer be a requirement for federal approval 
for construction to protect the right to navigation.
Including such major, and historic, changes in the omnibus budget bill 
means they will have less scrutiny and chance for thoughtful amendment 
than if the changes had been introduced independently.
More time would give the federal government a better chance to explain 
how it selected 97 lakes and 62 rivers to include among the inland 
waterways that will continue to have federal protection. Transport 
Canada has produced a complex formula that it says was used to select 
the proposed scheduled waterways. It includes information that looks at 
how busy the waterways are with recreational and commercial traffic, how 
much infrastructure there is, such as wharfs, their historic importance, 
proximity to heavily populated areas and more. The department notes that 
it could add to the list over time.
The government argues its selection process was scientific, yet an 
analysis by Citizen reporter Glen McGregor points out that the vast 
majority of those waterways listed happen to be in Tory ridings. 12 
alone are in the Muskoka riding of Treasury Board President Tony 
Clement, including Lake Rousseau which has some of the most expensive 
cottage real estate in North America, some of it owned by Hollywood 
Coincidence? It could well be. But the list itself and the process of 
selecting waterways deserves more scrutiny. Why should only lakes near 
large population centres be protected under the act? Do Canadians not 
also have navigation rights to more remote lakes? And is protection 
under the law something that benefits local property owners or is a 
hindrance to them? And what effect would the changes have on the 
environment or large resource projects near more remote waterways?
The law has been there since Sir John A. was in office. That suggests 
that it was due for review, but also that it deserves to be modernized 
with care.
Ottawa Citizen

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