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, October 17, 2013

Kipawa Rare Earths project request for a provincial environmental assessment and public consultations (BAPE)‏

  • Kipawa Rare Earths project request for a provincial environmental assessment and public consultations (BAPE)‏

Christina Moreau (,,,,

Mr. Yves-François Blanchet
Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment
Wildlife and Parks, Province of Quebec
Marie-Guyart, 29th Floor 675 boul. René-Levesque East
Quebec, Quebec G1R 5V7

In regards to: Request for a provincial environmental assessment and public consultations (BAPE) for the proposed Kipawa Rare Earths project by Matamec Explorations Inc.

Dear Mr. Blanchet:
Please find attached the signatures and comments from the petition This petition states that the risks of the proposed Kipawa Rare Earths project are too great to allow it to proceed. Currently 2,543 individuals (Abitibi-Temiscaming residents, business owners, cottage owners, seasonal residents, tourists and other lake users) agree and have signed online, in addition we have received 55 paper signatures (also attached) giving a total of 2598 signatures to date in opposition of this project.
The company, Matamec, has claimed and continues to claim social acceptability. This petition, the peaceful protests which took place on September 4th, 2013 in Laniel, Kipawa and Temiscaming, the petition by A.P.A.R.T. (association pour l’avenir des ressources temiscamiennes)  as well as a large Facebook community (over 1,000 ‘likes’ on and almost 4,000 members of prove otherwise. This project is not socially accepted.
The company has not been very forthcoming in explaining the risks of the project to the public when questioned. In addition, rare earth mining is new to Canada. It poses additional risks to the environment, animals, plants, fish, air and water quality. In additional to those risks present with other types of mining the fact remains that the dangers of the rare earth ores themselves are not yet understood. One thing is clear, to date, rare earth mining has never been carried out in a safe manner. In both China and the United States there have been major environmental consequences and disasters associated with this type of mining and in China also extreme human health issues. For scientific and objectively sound information on the risks of rare earth mining I encourage you to see the United States EPA publications which can be accessed via the following links and
For these reasons it is imperative that the public be completely informed and have the maximum opportunity for input. This cannot be done without a full provincial environmental assessment and public consultation process in Quebec (BAPE).
Regardless of the amount of ore extracted per day, whether 4,000 or 7,000 the effects are likely to be similar, the difference is simply a matter of scale. In addition, allowing this project to proceed without the full studies is a legal loop-hole whereby the company can open with a less rigorous approval process and then increase their production after the fact. Matamec has already alluded to the fact that they may do so in the following press release Where Mr. Miller states “.. there is potential to increase production higher”
In addition the Metal Mining and Effluent regulations do not limit the release of several of the potentially harmful substances that could be released during rare earth mining. At the time that many of these mining laws were written rare earth mining was not being carried out.
Furthermore the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks and the Province of Quebec have recently announced their plans to proceed with the creation of the Opemican Park project situated on the Kipawa Lake and Lake Temiscaming, both of which are located downstream of the proposed mine site. For this park to be worth the investment, it must attract visitors. How many individuals will want to vacation downstream of a potentially toxic and radioactive rare earth mine? If you take a moment and look through the comments provided by the petition signers many tourists are already stating that although they love the Kipawa area and have been visiting for generations, should this mine project be allowed to proceed they will take their families and money elsewhere. Tourism is one of the few long term stable industries in the area. Kipawa Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada. It would be devastating for it to be lost due to a short term economic gain to few from a potentially destructive mining operation that will benefit few of the local population.
Kipawa Lake is an important tourist destination, an important source of drinking water to local communities and those downstream along the Ottawa River. It also has a strong cultural and historic significance to local First Nations communities. I beg that you put these very important uses ahead of a potentially devastating short term financial gain for few. The first step in doing so Mr. Blanchet is to give the public more information and a voice. You can do so by requiring the project to undergo a full environmental study and public consultation. Please take into consideration these signatures in support of and in addition to those received from A.P.A.R.T.
Christina Moreau, BSc, BEd
MSc in Fisheries and Aquatic Science (in progress)

Martine Ouellet, ministre des Ressources naturelles du Québec
Pauline Marois, première ministre du Québec
Leona Aglukkak, Minister of Environment, Government of Canada
Norman Young, Mayor, Municipality of Kipawa
Arnaud Warolin, Préfet MRC Temiscamingue
Madeleine Paul, Chief, Eagle Village First Nation
Harry St-Denis, Chief, Wolf Lake First Nation
Christine Moore, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Member of Parliament, Deputy critic for energy and natural resources
Association pour l’avenir des ressources temiscamiennes (APART)
Coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mines
Ottawa River Keeper
Mining Watch Canada
CPAWS Ottawa River Valley
Les amis de la rivière Kipawa
Sierra Club Québec
Gilles Chapadeau, député de Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue
Action boréale Abitibi-Témiscamingue (ABAT)  
Association canadienne des médecins pour l’environnement (ACME)
Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA)
Centre de recherche en éducation et formation relatives à l'environnement et à l'écocitoyenneté
Fondation Rivières
Les AmiEs de la Terre du Québec
Nature Québec
Société pour la nature et les parcs (SNAP-Québec)  
Société pour vaincre la pollution (SVP)

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