Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Timmins to study Grassy River

While the City of Timmins has not yet passed a formal resolution on the issue of a new hydro dam on the Grassy River, the city’s engineer is now in the process of preparing a due diligence report on how such a project would affect Timmins.
Woods Power Generation of Larder River, near Englehart, has a proposal on file to create a hydro dam on the Grassy River, about 25 kilometres south of downtown Timmins that would effectively remove the scenic High Falls area. The project is being developed with the cooperation of the Mattagami and Matachewan First Nations, since the river falls within the traditional territory of Treaty Nine.
The project is being opposed by scores of conservationists throughout the Timmins area who believe the High Falls stretch of the river should be protected from development.
Before the project reaches the construction phase, it must undergo an environmental assessment which measure the impact the project will have.
City engineer Luc Duval says he has been instructed to find out how the project may affect water flows and levels on the Mattagami River as it passes through Timmins. Duval says the concern is that the water flow on the Grassy River may affect the Mattagami River.
“I understand we do regulate water levels and the MNR is involved. I will be talking to MRCA (Mattagami Region Conservation Authority) and to OPG (Ontario Power Generation). My question will be specifically related to the filtration plant so if there is a new player in the game does it have an impact to the water levels, for one thing,” Duval told The Times
“I don’t know if that operation would create a different chemistry of water – sometimes there are turbidity issues,” he added.
Duval added it doesn’t mean the city administration is taking sides on the controversial issue.
“I don’t think it’s to take a pro or con approach to this. It is just to recognize the actual facts of having another generating station along that stretch of river,” he said.
“For me on the technical side, it will be a due diligence to recognize impacts. And like with any project if you know the impacts, oftentimes there are ways of mitigating them by knowing them early on in the game.” Duval said.

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