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.


Monday, June 22, 2009

I am concerned over recent actions to develop a hydro power project on the Petawawa River.

The Petawawa River represents a beautiful recreational resource for the people of Petawawa and the surrounding area. It is one of the few remaining largely un-dammed rivers in Southern Ontario, it flows right from the heart of Algonquin Park, and its whitewater rapids are the very namesake of the town.

This hydro project – should it reach completion – will be robbing us of all this. The river will be largely dewatered, leaving only a bare minimum flow. The rapids will be silenced, the Catwalk swimming hole stagnant, and the sport fishing opportunities will be forever impacted over the entire stretch from the mouth of the river, right up through Black Bay.
I ask, that the Waterpower Site Strategy document outline in detail how these concerns will be mitigated.

To imagine the Town of Petawawa without this beautiful section of whitewater is inconceivable. And, to give away such a resource for a short term monetary gain would be a foolish decision.
The public will lose, while the project developers will gain.

So, I am writing as a resident of Petawawa, the County of Renfrew, the Province of Ontario and citizen of Canada, and raising my voice in objection to the damming and ultimate destruction of this section of river. And, if given the opportunity to do so, I ask that we all take every possible step to ensure that this river continues to flow free, clean and wild for generations to come.


(Name and address)



I consider myself a recreational user of the Petawawa River, and therefore a stakeholder in any project that threatens the Petawawa River. I wish to be consulted and informed of any project developments.