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Babyface is "insignificant", so is Colluseum

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    Peter Karwacki

    I have been reading affidavits from PWGSC officials, Ministry of Transport Officials and I see the words ” effects were insignificant”.

    The Kipawa Judicial Review currently underway (see. (threats) seems to boil down to one simple issue. We say the loss of the rapid at the dam sluice, is SIGNIFICANT, and our respondents say it is not.

    But let me ask: When was the last time a rapid like that was created?
    Where? At what cost?

    They simply do not create rapids like that, and do not create experiences like that today. That is why we must fight to preserve it, and most importantly, fight the urge of bureaucrats to simply say, motivated by whatever economic interests, that the lost of a rapid is INSIGNIFICANT.

    Next it may be BABYFACE, it may be COLLUSEUM. They’ll say it is insignificant.

    Cases like the Kipawa come up very infrequently. We’ve drawn the line in the sand. We say it is signficant, they say it is not. The judge will decide who has the better argument.

    And in any case, if we lose, it will not be because we did not do everything that we could do… and more. Please donate to the Kipawa River Legal Defense Fund. About $100 per paddler would be good, more better, the price of a new spray skirt or rather good booties.

    If we win, there will be…. a big party – dam it.

    Read it and weep…. or fight, as Les Amis and others have chosen to do. These lambs are not being silent.


    CEAR Home » Basic Search » 04-01-940
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry
    CEA Registry Reference Number: 04-01-940

    (Document List)

    February 9, 2006 — Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada and Transport Canada have completed the screening of the Laniel Dam Rehabilitation and on February 9, 2006 determined to take the following course of action. The authority may exercise any power or perform any duty or function with respect to the project because, [b:1z018mu0]after having considered the screening report and comments from the public, the authority is of the opinion that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. [/b:1z018mu0]

    As detailed in the environmental assessment report, mitigation measures have been required for the project to address:

    air quality
    water quality
    water quantity
    soil quality
    noise levels
    birds and/or their habitat
    fish and/or their habitat
    structure, site or thing of historic, archaelogical, paleontological or architectural significance
    socio-economic impacts

    A follow-up program has been implemented to verify the accuracy of the environmental assessment of a project and/or determine the effectiveness of any measures taken to mitigate the adverse environmental effects of the project and because of the following reasons:

    Environmentally Sensitive Area/Valued Ecosystem Components
    Public Concerns
    New or Unproven Technologies

    It is estimated this program will start on May 1, 2007 and continue until November 1, 2012.

    For more information or how to obtain a full description of the follow-up program and its results, please contact:

    Kim Turnbull
    Environmental Assessment Officer
    380 Hunt Club Road
    Ottawa ON K1A 0S5
    Telephone Number: (613) 993-5963
    Fax: (613) 993-6614
    E-mail address:

    and refer to CEAR reference number 04-01-940



    Ha ha ha ha.

    that’s awesome dude!!!!

    Peter Karwacki

    In arriving at mitigation of environmental effects it is clear that one hand does not know what the other is up to.

    There are other watersheds with runnable dams.

    I sometimes wonder whether the bureaucrats we are up against are dealing with any other paddlers OTHER than Les Amis. It does not come out in their affidavits. Else where NWPA officers seemed to be dealing with paddlers on at least a weekly basis for BC Rivers such as Rutherford Creek. It is the longest artificial run in North America.

    Wouln’t it be fantastic if, at the end of our mission we could read a similar statement about the Kipawa. The stake-holders at at Rutherford Creek are carbon copies of the Kipawa case.

    Rutherford Creek Power Ltd. is proud of the manner in which it has worked to bring local benefits to a variety of stakeholders including the Mount Currie Band, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, the BC Whitewater Kayaking Association and the Pemberton Snowmobile Club ” said President David Andrews.

    Here’s the website: … erford.htm

    What was interesting about this project was that the original kayaking activists tried to have a Class 4-5 run built. There was a lot of hot debate and they eventually settled on a Class 3-4 run.

    Now this is not a spillway. But it is a case of the NWPA being used to protect paddlers’ navigation rights.


    Rutherford Creek is not the longest artificial run in North America. Rutherford Creek is actually 2 beautiful Class 5 runs (an Upper and Lower) now dewatered.

    The unpaddled (and for the most part unpaddleable) cement ditch that the construction company plastered at the run out should not be confused with Rutherford Creek.

    The artificial course is well over budget and time having originally been sccheduled to open in ’04. Many think it may not ever see public / popular use. Having seen it, I would second that opinion.

    This is not a knock against Stuart, the WKABC or any of the other parties, and hopefully the WKABC will get it resolved.

    But, by the same token, let’s hope that Les Amis will have a more positive result.

    [quote:61r704mz]But it is a case of the NWPA being used to protect paddlers’ navigation rights.[/quote:61r704mz]

    If this were truly the case, Rutherford Power Ltd would be putting the water back into the creek / scheduling releases for recreational users.


    I have to second Phitty’s opinion here.

    The Rutherford project is hardly a successful case of protecting paddlers navagational rights. Instead, the river has become [i:19ja0pgr]unnavigable[/i:19ja0pgr] for the majority of the season and in place there is couple hundered meter long concrete ditch that looks more like a death trap then a riverbed. Successfully defending navigatinal rights would have ideally stopped construction of the dam. Like Phitty said, even a water release program would have been a better concession on part of the power company.

    Unfortunatly this is becoming a common theme in the BC coast – the Ashlu project has just had the first trees fallen to build infrastructre, and in the end will mean the loss of up to 3 distinct sections of river, and who knows how many more in the future.


    I thought “Insignificant” was a rapid on the Gauley. <img loading=” title=”Confused” />



    But don’t let the name mislead you. I understand that it can have very serious consequences!

    SYOTR, Leah


    Yah did you see that blog with the photos of the vertical pin?

    Peter Karwacki

    So this reinforces the general opinion that taking away a paddling resource is significant. Something not easily trifled with.

    The work Les Amis are doing is to try and ensure that the bureaucrats don’t just pay lip service to public input. If we say it is significant and provide meaningful feedback and comment it is not okay for bureaucrats to simply say the opposite unless there is some fundamental rationale. In this case, there is none. They tried to say it wasn’t safe, actually first they tried to say it wasn’t legal, but then caught falt footed now claim no significance.



    [quote:2ratpxcp]”…that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects”[/quote:2ratpxcp]

    Appologies for the ignorance, but I read that they’re talking about the environmental impact. All the issues around paddler’s right to navigable waterways aside, Are they not correct in terms of the Environmental Assessment? I mean, does a bottom release dam have any greater envrionmental impact than a top release dam? I don’t think Salmon/Trout ever were able to run the dam…

    Also – how does safeguarding the existing dam’s access then assist to halt the diversion? I can see that the diversion project CAN have a “significan environmental impact”, but I’m stumped on the Top vs. bottom thing.

    I’m having a tough time seeing the argument here. Not trying to be unsupportive, just trying to make sense of the argument… If I don’t get it, I’m in middle management and probably about the same density as your mid-level beaureucrat….

    Or – to you and possibly the government – does “environmental assessment” also look at the socio-economic impact?

    Thanks for explaining – again, I’m not trying to undermine your effort – just trying to bring more clarity here.



    [quote:u1062rxs]As detailed in the environmental assessment report, mitigation measures have been required for the project to address:

    air quality
    water quality
    water quantity
    soil quality
    noise levels
    birds and/or their habitat
    fish and/or their habitat
    structure, site or thing of historic, archaelogical, paleontological or architectural significance
    socio-economic impacts [/quote:u1062rxs]

    An environmental assessment is basically designed as a means of determining how a project would fit within its environment. That includes the social environment, economic environment and, well, environment environment. I think we can all agree how this affects the social environment (and even possibly the economic environment, for those businesses centred on whitewater recreation). The question is, is it a significant effect, or insignificant? If it is insignificant, then the project is cleared, otherwise, it has to go back to drawing boards to accomodate those affected.


    Actually very early in the EA we raised the top-down – bottom-up issue as an ecological issue.

    We asked if releasing from the bottom would lower the mean temperature of the river, thereby impacting the aquatic ecosystem.

    We were told that they did temperature sampling at the dam and the variation was not great enough top-to-bottom to have a measurable impact on the river water temperature.

    So Pete is right, we’re arguing socio-economic impacts, recreational and commercial river navigation (past present and future potential).

    There is also the important principle of the NWPA that is being undermined here. The public right of river navigation is a historic and a heritage right in Canada. This right goes back to the time when our rivers were our highways, and river transportation was critically important for people and industry.

    As Canadians we have a right to navigate, and that right should not be carelessly infringed or needlessly diminished at the whim of bureaucrats without good reason and without full and meaningful consultation on impacts.



    Thanks, appreciate the comments.

    Peter Karwacki

    Thank you for your cogent responses.

    I’ve found myself, in the past, not too distant, being overwhelmed with emotion on this issue and venum directed at the decision makers who …. do not seem to share my visions, values and beliefs as it pertains to recreational use of water control structures.

    I wrote and delivered papers, one published in international journals, wrote poetry, wrote emails, spoke with politicians, sent out leaflets, advocated posters, helped with rallies, and posted to boater boards. I just couldn’t see why others couldn’t see. Its frustrating.

    Now we have a discussion that has meat to it.

    What really is significant/and insigificant ( ie has no value).

    Do you all know?

    Peter Karwacki

    Here we have the sluice at the dam, run for 40 years, safely, without incident by thousands of boaters and hundreds of commercial raft customers.

    We have others in the UK and in the US actually making changes in their own legal systems to ensure recreational use of rivers MUST be considered in development projects.

    We have a growing interest in nature and the outdoors in all Canadians.

    We have a growing level of concerns in Canadians about the health of their environment.

    We have water releases for the Kipawa River Rally with the acquiescence of PWGSC and their assistance.

    We have an exciting recreational whitewater experience at the dam by virtue of the sluice which cannot be easily duplicated once removed and there is no evidience that whitewater resources are being created and if they were their costs would be prohibitive.

    We have a history of navigation, video evidence, testimonials, letters from rafters and boaters.

    We have a long history of communications with PWGSC and others, politicians, auditor General’s office … on and on.

    If we cannot save this whitewater run, which other would be safer? This is a test case by virtue of the sheer quantity of substantial evidence and history that we have amassed.

    Now the challenge to boaters and others out there is to support Les Amis in their efforts to challenge this capricious action of government in saying that the loss of the navigation at the sluice is insignificant.

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