Thursday, October 7, 2010

The proposed site development is envisioned to consist of the following principal components:

  • Design of 55 cubic meters/second for water diversion (FYI, there are only 2 months of the year when the Pet has that much flow... you can figure out what that means.)

  • 400 m long access roads ±70 m long, ±0.8 m high concrete ogee spillway with 2 x 1.5m high Obermeyer type gates mounted a concrete dam structure each 35 m long;+ 110 m long dam embankments with a maximum height of ± 2 m

  • 375 m long, 6 m deep x 16 m wide unlined intake channel

  • Powerhouse building 10 m x 40 m to be located just upstream of the Petawawa Blvd bridge

This information was taken from the Waterpower Site Strategy document submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources dated September 2009. This is a full seven months prior to the meeting held on May 3rd 2010 when the representative from Xeneca said that they were still gathering data. Xeneca continues to use this excuse to avoid answering questions.

I cannot be any more serious about this.

If you want more specific project information ask

Sunday, August 29, 2010

... stop the constant interference [ of provincial government ] in local-decision making. The voters put their faith in you to make the best decisions for your local communities.

The Government's Green Energy Act strips decision-making away from the elected municipal governments and bestows it on faceless bureaucrats at the OPA. This is why, in the face of strenuous local objections we have seen the government plough ahead with schemes to install giant wind industrial wind farms where ever they see fit. This is wrong.

Certainly renewable energy should be part of Ontario'a supply mix, but only where it is welcomed, and wanted, and at prices ratepayers can afford.

Remarks by Tim Hudak, MPP
Leader of the Ontario PC Party
Speech to the Association of Ontario Municipalities, Aug 17, 2010

It is expected that the public consultation will begin in late-October or early-November, intentionally timed so as not to become an election issue for the municipal government. As a side note, while not officially opposed to the project, the municipal government does appear very much concerned about the possible impacts and have publically stated that the project must in no way affect the flow of the river.

Do you know how your Councillor stands on the issue?

As an aside, Town Council has expressed a great deal of worry over the lack of decision-making power left in municipal hands. Though the Green Energy Act (May 2009) the Province has the ability to overrule the decision of the local communities in regards to 'green' energy projects. This effectively eliminates the ability of a town to choose what is best for themselves. The Petawawa Council has on a number of occasions expressed frustration over this, and in fact the Association of Ontario Municipalities is also concerned. To this end, MPP Sylvia Jones (supported by Hudak) has introduced Bill 29 to "amend the Planning Act to reverse the effect of the amendments made by the Green Energy and Green Economy Act." More details are the links below.

Additional Information:

Save the Petawawa (Facebook): Groups / Save the Petawawa
CURRENTS Petawawa (video):
Bill 29, Ontario Legislature:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This is an election issue! Where do they stand?

This is an election issue.
Photo courtesy of Martin Cayouette (


Public 'consultation' will begin in the fall. This is intentionally being times to avoid becoming an election issue for the municipal elections.

Now I for one would want to know where my Mayor (or Reeve, or Councillor) stands on this issue. It is the most critical and contentious issue that the Town has been presented with in recent years, and resident should know where there elected official stand on the issue.

Why don't you ask them:;;;;;

Include: ;;


In other news, the Xeneca scientist team has been down to the river a few times in the past month to check things out. We know they arent there for the swimming.... Makes you wonder if the low water like we have now is what we have to look forward to once the damn dam and damn diversion goes in.

The full details of the Project have been released to the public through an Access to Information Request initiated by a concerned member of the public. It is 190+ page document, that scares the cr@p out of me (and it should you as well). I'll try to get it available to you shortly, as well as pull some of the more important pieces out as a highlight.

Please stay tuned. Please stay involved.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thanks for visiting, and thank you for your interest in knowing more about how you can help protect the Petawawa River

Please take a moment to read through the information provided below. We have tried to keep it current, but this website - just like everyone else - struggles to get information from a damn developer that is unwilling to share.

We'll try our best to keep you informed.

What can you do to help?

1. E-mail this website ( and the Currents video clip about the project: to all those you know that may have an interest in knowing more about the project.

2. When you send your e-mail, Cc and we'll add you to the mailing list when there is new information to share. Or, just send an e-mail and we'll keep you posted.

3. This is the big one. We are asking you to write in to several people to express your concern about the project and the Green Energy Act specifically how the power to make decisions has been ripped from the hands of the very communities most affected by the projects.

If you scroll right to the bottom, you will find a form letter that you can use, or feel free to pull from your own.

Send it to:

We are still a year or two away from the actual shovels hitting the ground on this one, so please speak up and try to save this river. It needs our help.



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photo©David Rhodes, Deep River. Taken at Lover's Rapid, May 2, 2010 during the Hell or High Water Race.

Read the Xeneca presentation here: DAMN PRESENTATION

It truly is a wonderful resource for the people of this area, and to have to destroyed for a small amount of electricity (all of which is surplus for our local communities) would be a shame.
The communication with the public on this project has been deplorable. You can hear the Mayor and Council express their concerns with this aspect as well. The project has been steamrolling ahead for years without any real opportunity for residents to have their say.

The Xeneca presentation at the May 3 2010 council meeting was more of the same. Empty promises to do more, and questions left unanswered.

What will happen to Catwalk pond?
What about the fishing at the mouth of the Pet?
Will there be water left to swim or float the rapids?
How many trees will be cut from the side of the bank when they build the roads to construct this dam, the tail race, the turbine and the diversion canal?
Will there be lasting jobs in our area, once the construction is done?
All of these remain unanswered.

Are residents nervous? You bet we are.


On a more positive note, the 2nd annual Hell or High Water Festival was held on May 1, and saw over 200 boaters and en equal number of people out spectating and interacting with the river in a positive way. There is alot at stake with this damn project.

The council has every right to be nervous, and so do residents.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What does this mean to you?

So what has happened over the winter? Good question. The developer certainly isnt forthcoming with information, but one wouldn't expect that from a company that is seeking to steal a river from the people of Petawawa.

It remains difficult to get answers on the project progression.

It also remains difficult to get even updates on the project.

This is what we know so far:

The received their feed-in tariff, which means that the Province will allow them to sell electricity to the grid. That is a big win for the developers.

An advisory committee has been selected. It seems that they chose the participants at random. No one from Petawawa's recreational user community was asked to participate.

They held a 'public consultation' in the summer with select resident of Black Bay, the group least affected by this project. Didnt hear about it? Not surprised. Its not like they wanted you to attend anyway.

So that's where we sit.

Still locked out from discussions, still looking for answers and still left waiting and hoping that somehow these theives and vandals will leave the river the way it should be.

Tell your friends, to tell their friends to tell anyone who will listen.


The picture at the top is from the Ashlu River, a very similar situation to the one in Petawawa. Water is diverted through a huge pipe and returned to the river once the gradient is gone. The water that remains in the riverbed is coming out of that small tube. Seriously. That is what is left over.

As you see in the second picture, the Developer would take water from Railroad Rapid and return it BELOW Catwalk rapid. Thanks. Green energy my ass.
Even the Squamish town council fought to prevent this dam and lost. Don't let it happen to the Petawawa.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's not a done deal!

Don't give up hope yet. Although the developer continues to push ahead with the destruction and theft of a beautiful public asset, there are many who still have grave concerns over the damage this would be doing. See the article below.

"Not a Done Deal" Pembroke Observer, Sept. 2009

"Concerns over flooding remain."

If you haven't yet done so, please consider sending a letter to your MP, MPP and Petawawa town council to let them know that you are opposed to this project.;;;

Should this dam project proceed, we will all lose and the developer will gain.
It is just not worth it.

Thanks to all who have submitted letters so far.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kayaking on the Petawawa

Certainly, a hydro dam project will impact on every resident of this community and area. Taking water from the top of the rapids and putting it back in is still very destructive. Be it through environmental damage in road construction, hydro lines, damage to the walking trails, unslightly buildings, reduced flow rates in the river, sediment build-up in eddies and at the mouth of the river, swampy stagnant swimming areas.... the list is long. However,the whitewater kayaking and rafting community may suffer the worst blow. Here is a little primer on kayaking the Town Run of the Petawawa.

Level: Gauge found here under Ontario / Petawawa River Near Petawawa. Look for levels of 2.8 - 4.0 but can be run lower and higher. 3.2 is medium.
Time: 1-2 hours first run, 15 - 20 minutes second run.
When To Go: March through June, rain events, and low flow runs all year.
Other Beta: Hell or High Water, Petawawa River Race
Map: Click here
PDF: Click here
Other: Petawawa River Rats Kayaking Club

The Petawawa is a beautiful river, draining much of Algonquin Park out into the Ottawa River, about 30 river miles upstream from the Rocher Fendu section of the Ottawa. Bordered on the river left shore by Canadian Forces Base Petawawa the river has been kept somewhat free of development for many years. It is a real gem of a river offering a long season, a variety of boating from surfs to boofs, and perfectly easy shuttles and access.

There are two sections to the Petawawa that are commonly run for whitewater enthusiasts, although the river is a popular canoe camping / tripping river as well for Algonquin Park 'goers. The Town section is described in this post, and the "Upper Pet" in another.

The Petawawa is easy to find; look for the town and the Town Run is dead smack in the middle of it. Most of the major rapids can be scouted from roadside stops or park space, and with a little ingenuity you can figure out the shuttles no trouble at all.

The common put in is either upstream of Hwy 17, just off of Rantz Rd (Murphy Rd exit) or the shorter run - no warm up to this one - begins at Railroad Rapid just off of Wilson Ave. The clearings for parking are easy to spot on Google Maps, and easy to find on arrival.

The Take Out is located at Golf Course Rapid - a great little play hole at medium and high flows. It is located on Tall Pines Rd, a dead-end street found by following the river downstream or by turning off of Albert Street.

By putting on at the highway start you get a nice little class 2/3 warm up drop and a 2 km moving flatwater section before arriving at Railroad. This is a big, long rapid and worth scouting for most. There are significant holes - easily avoided - at most flows. Heaps of line choices here to keep you entertained.

Following Railroad is a 1-km section of Class 3 wave trains with a few surf spots, before arriving at Lovers. This is a very straightforward rapid, and a great chance to scare your friends by having them "blue angel" or "ducky" down it. There is a monster rooster tail at the run out that makes for a wild ride. Immediately after comes Catwalk, offering a sweet playwave at level of 2.9 and up, and a decent spinning hole below this level.

Zack Boles throwing back on Catwalk Wave, level 3.35.

The next major rapid before the Golf Course take out is named Suicide. Although not really deserving of the deathly moniker, it also present a range of line choices, some more difficult that others, and is routinely run on both the right and left channels. Also worth scouting. Portage right. Then run out to the play waves at Golf Course, where the Pet reaches the Ottawa River.

Nice recovery May!

Now it's almost over but note that the second run takes only a fraction of the time of the first, so head up the 4-minute shuttle and whip off another run. Your wife, husband or significant other will understand... Enjoy the Petawawa while it lasts. This wonderful river is threated by a micro hydro project that would ruin this public resource forever. Also, be sure to check out the Hell or High Water Race each spring. The link is in the header section, or check the video!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We need your help! This is how.

The dam is for real, and residents are not being fairly informed. Check out
Here is a copy of the advertisment welcoming comment.

Although we are gaining ground in terms of media and public awareness, we still need your help. As the .pdf outlines, Petawawa Green Energy Development (PGED) is preparing their Waterpower Site Strategy. They are accepting comments from the public, and are then required / expected to address them when they submit the WSS to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

This is not the same as a public consultation for an EA. That comes later. What I need from the kayaking and outdoors community is to take a second to send off an e-mail to in regards to 2KB21 at Big Eddy at the CPR Bridge and tell them you arent so keen on this development.

Step One: Click the e-mail address given above or below.
Step Two: Cut and paste the letter from the first post, or please feel free to write your own personal note.
Step Three: Send.
Step Four: Tell a friend to do the same.

The letters don't have to be pretty, just get them in.

And remember, this is only the first step, and we will need your support again when the Environmental Assessment period begins for the actual construction.

So, after they've taken the water, how much is left for residents?

Photo© C. Moneypenny

How much water does the DAMN company want to take out of the Petawawa?

Here is a very simple, non-scientific explanation using a generic river. It is not specific to the Petawawa other than the height (head) of 14 metres, as given by the DAMN company in late-April at a public meeting.

The energy available in flowing water depends on the volume of water flowing per second and the height (head) that the water falls. The conversion of this energy into electricity will depend upon the combined efficiency of the components; the efficiency of a small hydro scheme can be between 50-85%. I was generous and gave 70% efficiency.
The power contained by a body of water can be calculated by the following equation:

P = H x Q x g x e

P = power (kW)
H = head height (metres)
Q = flow rate (cubic metres per second or CMS)
g = gravitational constant (9.81 metres per second)
e = efficiency (0.5 ? 0.9, i.e. 50% - 85%)
So on the Petawawa... 14 (head height in metres) x 10 (cm/s) x 9.81 (gravity) x .7 (70% efficient)= 961.38 KW or roughly 1MW.

So that is approximately 10.5 CMS per MW.

The Dam company wanted a minimum 2 MW (21 CMS) to maximum of 10 MW (100 CMS).
Using 2007/08 as an typical example, and the newest available data from Environment Canada, the river flows vary from approx 15 CMS to just above 350 CMS, but were only over 100 CMS for April and May, only over 50 CMS in March, April, May and June, and below 20 CMS for Sept - February.

There are at least six months of the year minimum where it would be impossible to produce even 2 MW of power even if they were granted permission to remove every last drop of water from the river... unless they dam it and store it.

I realize that the proponent is non-commital about a "dam" versus a "diversion" until they finish their studies, but do the math yourself. I don't see how they hope to build this thing without a dam to store the water.

I checked against other years and all are similar to 2007. The flow rates of the Petawawa are taken from Environment Canada Water Survey of Canada date. The link is below.