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Mississippi Mills chapter attends vigil in the river

Photo courtesy of The Millstone.

On the evening of July 4th, members of the Mississippi Mills chapter of the Council of Canadians joined with allies to hold a vigil in the river that flows through the center of town to protest a planned hydroelectric project.

“After some five years of battling the Enerdu Power corporation, a subsidiary of Cavanaugh Construction, it seems that they will start work today, preparatory to excavating the river for deepening the river to make an enlarged power facility more profitable” explains chapter member Cathy Blake. “This was a symbolic vigil held in the river by persons who have carried on the struggle against this symbol of corporate greed versus the wishes of the community. The Obermeyer Weir they plan to build will change the look of the lovely cascade in the middle of our historic town forever, and they plan to build a powerhouse, blocking around 30% of our river at its narrowest point.”

Local paper The Millstone provides further context: “Enerdu plans to hoe-ram or blast out a portion of the riverbed in the heart of town in order to divert river water to a 5,000 square foot powerhouse it intends to build alongside the Maple Leaf Flour Mill. […] A comprehensive study published by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists found that the operation of increased generating capacity at the Enerdu site will not provide a net benefit to the provincial power grid as the operation of the Enerdu facility will decrease the power output from the Appleton generating station upstream.”

Cathy Blake also expressed concerns about the project’s approval process.

“The Mississippi Riverwatchers and town council have gathered scientific data to indicate that the MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)  is not doing its job in enforcing its own ANSI (Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest) on the river, met with officials of MOE (Ministry of Environment), and agitated in vain with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to have them listen to our concerns. The fact that MNRF is responsible for both giving out permits for corporations to harvest power, lumber, and ore and then also protect species at risk in those environments, is a real conflict of interest, which never seems to come out in the press. I have personally written Kathleen Wynne on the issue and she just passed my comments on to the ministers of MOE and MNRF, which do not have the power to change their respective mandates. Others have written to the same effect, also.”