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Save Big Falls from hydro-electric dam

Toronto-based Horizon Energy Operations Ltd. is seeking to build a 4-metre high, 3-5 megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric dam on the Trout River at Big Falls near the north-western Ontario communities of Ear Falls and Red Lake.

It is opposed by the Lac Seul First Nation. The Wawatay News has reported, “Lac Seul member Kaaren Dannenmann, who lives in Red Lake, expressed her concerns that the First Nation was not consulted about the government’s plans for the hydro project until much too late in the process.” She also opposes the dam because of the cultural significance of Big Falls to her people.

A federal environmental assessment on the dam was being conducted because of the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Fisheries Act, but that was ended in July 2012 with the passage of Harper’s new Canada Environmental Assessment Act through the C-38 omnibus legislation.

It should also be noted that Vancouver-based Goldcorp operates a gold mine near Red Lake, as well as the nearby Cochenour project which will begin operation in 2015. The same company also operates the controversial Marlin mine in Guatemala that Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow visited in September 2011, as well as the Cerro Blanco mine in south-western Guatemala near the border with El Salvador that Blue Planet Project campaigner Meera Karunananthan visited in May 2013.