Orillia Power Generation proposes power generation station on the Gull River

By Chad Ingram

Original article from: http://mindentimes.ca/

The Orillia Power Generation Corporation wants to build a second power generation station near Minden.

Reps from the corporation, which owns and operates the power generation plant at Minden Lake just north of the village, visited Minden Hills councillors during their June 25 meeting.

Orillia Power wants to construct a second generation station harnessing the power of the Horseshoe Lake dam, which flows into the Gull River, and is seeking a support resolution from council.

That area is also home to the Minden Wild Water Preserve, operated by White Water Ontario.

It would generate between three and three and half megawatts of power, enough to power between 1,200 and 1,500 homes.

“We’ve had detailed conversations with White Water Ontario,” Keith McAllister, president and CEO of Orillia Power, told Councillors.

McAllister said a power generation station would not impact water levels on Horseshoe Lake and could actually help control water flows at the wild water preserve, reducing the torrent of the spring freshet and providing adequate levels to extend the paddling season in the fall.

“In the end, we believe it will be a win-win situation for everybody,” he said.
The project is at very preliminary stages. An environmental assessment must be performed and a public input process will take place.

“We want to work with the public, we want to work with our neighbours to make this happen,” McAllister said.

The corporation is planning to host an initial public meeting July 16. 2015.  The meeting is from 2:30 until 8:30 pm at Milden  Hills Township Office at 7 Milne St in Minden.

Reeve Brent Devolin asked McAllister if he was aware of the $285-million Trent-Severn Waterway funding announcement the federal government made last week and that work would be performed on the dam at Horseshoe Lake.

“We knew they were planning to do some work on the Horseshoe Lake dam,” McAllister said, adding the corporation would be working closely with the TSW throughout the process.

The corporation has applied to purchase shoreline road allowances and the project would require passage over municipally owned property at three locations.
Councillor Pam Sayne wondered how many jobs a new generation station might create.

McAllister said the current facility requires an employee to be in Minden about half the week, so two facilities would equate to one full-time job in the area.

Sayne, noting that the City of Orillia owns the corporation and is therefore making profit, questioned whether the local economic impact was sufficient.

Councillor Jeanne Anthon wondered if the corporation would be communicating directly with lake associations.

McAllister reiterated the intent is to consult all stakeholders.

Devolin said councillors would need to gauge public reaction to the proposal.

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