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OPG Propaganda – Ontario Power Generation

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    Peter Karwacki

    Rebuttle to OPG propaganda!

    please send your remarks to: … entID=5586

    At the National slalom racing venue at MKC this past weekend OPG, in cooperation with MKC presented a very one sided view of their new and inspired “stay clear, stay safe” program.

    What was missing was the balance and discussion of the fact that water control dams and power generating stations, while of critical interest to the public for power, are also disruptive to the enjoyment of the environment and whitewater paddling resources. It is possible that the design of these facilities and their operation can be modified to protect the public and enhance the recreational opportunties of the resource.

    Rivers have more than one value to humans, while OPG exploits only one of them, power generation.

    I understand MKC’s position exactly, their income depends on good relations with OPG but I couldn’t help thinking:
    “forgive them lord… they know not what they do” as I watched young and old scrambling for bobbers, balls, post cards, and fluffy toys handed out by the spokesperson with rapt enthusiasm.

    OPG seems to be on a mission to fuzz the facts. As the above link discusses, it was the change in the operating regimen of that dam and its design that was the essential cause of those deaths, not the human usuage of the area.

    Peter Karwacki

    is tantamount to “clear the track… here comes shak” … 4g10.phtml

    As paddlers we have an interest in this story: rivers are not a single purpose resource to be controlled exclusively for profit by OPG.

    also consider the following … entID=5578


    I agree, that a balanced discussion considering the impact of power stations (hydro, nuclear, coal, gas etc.) is important. Remember, it is a balancing act, and before you go ahead and villify OPG, start by realizing that that this energy made for you and the rest of the citizens of Ontario, sold to you at half the cost of production.

    Peter Karwacki
    Participant … 7a&k=19545

    Another reason a balanced discussion of river resources is necessary.

    more on this case … tentid=328


    [quote:32m21nb5]As the above link discusses, it was the change in the operating regimen of that dam and its design that was the essential cause of those deaths, not the human usuage of the area.[/quote:32m21nb5]

    Either that, or people illegally trespassing in an area which common-sense would dictate to be unsafe.

    [quote:32m21nb5]Rivers have more than one value to humans, while OPG exploits only one of them, power generation. [/quote:32m21nb5]

    Are you suggesting that OPG start to exploit paddling/paddlers? OPG produce power, that is what they are interested in doing. There are ample cases across North America where dams allow for paddling seasons to be extended/ improved/ predictable.

    To label OPG’s message of “Stay Clear” as propaganda in the same breath as you blame them for the death of 2 trespassers/tourists who chose not to “Stay Clear” seems a little short-sighted.

    Are you suggesting that we should all be granted unhindered access to crawl about on power dams? And when (not if) we are injured or killed through these actions, that the operator of the damn is to be held responsible?

    Perhaps, Im not understanding your posts (again).


    I am in agreement with Peter with regard to the “propaganda”.

    It seems we are living in a society that is on two very divergent paths. On one hand we have the community of folks who pursue the outdoor experience, enhancing their skills and ability to survive, even thrive in “adverse, dangerous, even deadly circumstances”. Then there is the other path, which seems to be more common, where people become less capable of dealing with the enviroment that supports us.

    My feeling is that OPG and / or any of the other bureacracies are most interested in speaking to and making an impression on this second group. We the outdoor community are not their concern, it is the folks who occasionally become emboldened enough to cross over or the hapless who have no ability to make quality decisions regarding such things as moving water.

    As regards the “illegally tresspassing”. My question would be this. Who actually is the trespasser? Why does one special interest have the ability to impose itself on the resource/ enviroment to the exclusion of all else. I understand the need and my own personal use of the resource both for hydro and entertainment. I don’t get why one has to be exclusive, shouldn’t the same exclusivity be afforded to all who have a stake, in other words equal access and considersation.

    Many would defend hydro as being green and not intrusive. Truth is hydro creates numerous issues within the water ways the manipulate. A few examples would be extremely heightened mercury levels in artificial resevoires due to excessive tree decomposition in the water. Spawning cycles of all creatures downstream are disrupted. This disruption allows invasive species to move in. Dams are often directly responsible for invasive species introduction,example would be the Sea Lamprey in the Great Lakes.

    Bottom line here is rivers, waterways, lakes and streams are the veins and arteries of our land. Clog them and the land dies. Usually a long slow death that is easy to gloss over with time and “propaganda”.

    I’m not sure Peter is 100 percent right on here, but I’ll say this much. He does a dam sight more than most to keep people engaged and thinking about these things. I know he actually gets his hands dirty trying to make a difference. Without his efforts more than a few places we enjoy would be considered to be in the realm of “illegally tresspassing”.

    Personally I think all to often it is the enforcer (OPG) that is the tresspasser.
    We have been massaged into believeing otherwise.

    Now all together lets sing along with Woody;

    “this land is our land, this land is your land…….”

    Peter Karwacki

    OPG has embarked up this Dog and Pony show. It is a one sided presentation with one message. Stay Clear, Stay Safe.

    Yet in the case cited, which involved persons trespassing, they were depending on an operating regimen that had been in place since the early sixties.

    I don’t condone what the victims were doing which was trespassing. I don’t condone what OPG did which was release massive amounts of water without at least looking downstream.

    What I am saying is that we need to have a balanced discussion here. OPG is trying to tell us we don’t have any rights or interests in how they conduct themselves in utilizing a public resource. They are wrong. What I’d like to see is more dam safety and at the same time more recognition of things like the right to navigate our lakes rivers and streams without some dam springing up and taking those rights away.

    Naturally the issue to which I speak is the Kipawa river court case where PWGSC has acted and is acting to take away the right of long standing to navigate, safely, for recreational whitewater and commercial whitewater purposes using an environmental assessment that was essentially drafted to suit the project administrator’s purposes.

    Les Amis in protest, has launched a case in Federal court to contest the findings of that environmental assessment and requested very specific things from the Federal Court to secure more reasonable accommodation for the paddling community.

    Now back to OPG.

    These people have the money, they hand out bobbers, balls, videos and CDs. They tell a one sided version of reality.

    what can we do? use this board and others like it to voice our views and influence others.



    Bobbers are awesome.

    Peter Karwacki

    I suggest you get some made with a slightly different message:

    rather than ‘stay clear, stay safe’ try:

    “Whitewater: ours to protect and conserve”


    "Hipnazi":3rbgh5tj wrote:
    “A few examples would be extremely heightened mercury levels in artificial resevoires due to excessive tree decomposition in the water. “[/quote:3rbgh5tj]

    Here at Memorial University of Newfoundland (St. John’s), mathematicians are modeling the amount of mercury in Labrador caused by the dam at Churchil Falls (it’s huge).


    Peter Karwacki

    to Linda Halliday
    Box 999
    Cornwall, Ontario, K6H 5V1

    fax 613-932-9981
    cell 613-361-2458



    I’m writing to you concerning the OPG Stay Clear, Stay Safe Program.

    I understand that by virtue of their current design and operation OPG dams are unsafe based on all the literature I have seen published by OPG itself.

    It is my request that OPG immediately start revising their operating and design strategies to improve the safety of their dams by publishing their impounded water management plans and coordinating their release schedules which makes these structures more people and environment friendly.

    I also request that the needs of the commercial and recreational whitewater paddling community be consulting in the development of any such regime.

    I think OPG really needs to rethink its people “unfriendly” policies. Instead of signs reading:

    ” Extreme Danger: Dam Upstream – Keep Out, This Riverbed Floods without warning”

    You should, instead, be able to change the operating regime so that the following sign would read:

    “Dam Upstream – Use with Caution as river water levels change regularly but predictably – have a nice day!)”

    As regards to the criminal trial underway and the drownings which prompted this flurry of propaganda I can only say that while I do not support the public trespassing on OPG property and would never encourage this: it is also true that the dam operator, OPG, apparently did not ‘look’ downstream prior to release massive amounts of water, unprecedented since 1968 catching people unaware and to their demise.

    It is OPG that has the power and responsibility to operate their dams in a safe responsible manner, and it is my view that they can do a better job of this.

    I’m attaching a paper which I have prepared for the CDA conference this fall concerning the safe navigation of water control structures.

    Our lakes, rivers and streams are not for the sole use of OPG but have many values including recreational uses.


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