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What’s Happening with that WW park in St. Catherines?

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    It’s been at least a year since I heard anything. Any progress, or still to sensitive to talk about?



    I did read in the local paper that the Hydro project for the same section was moving forward, the WW course has always been dependant on the hydro project, and of course OPG would look good if they supported such a project, and they would need the diversion channel anyway…Being St Catharines, not exactly the most progressive community in Ontario, it’ll probably never happen. You should see how long it takes to get a 4 pad arena built, and there’s alot more skaters around than paddlers!


    after the deaths on the Madawaska, the criminal charges against the dam master and the lawsuit.
    OPG used paddlers as scapegoats in the trial and have started a publicity campaign to warn people of the dangers of dams. Appearantly MKC was arm twisted into promoting and supporting that campaign.

    If they would only look at dam design and how to take a dangerous lowhead dam and turn it into a wilder looking but safer and recreationally useful resource.

    The lowhead dam death hole in St Catherines is one of the scariest things i have ever seen, and could be redesigned as a safe recreational resource rather than a deathtrap they depend on signs and police to warn people away with.
    It is the general public that are most endangered by these features because they see us play in a safe spot and then think that something like the death hole looks like fun.

    We need to go after OPG as allies and with suggestions on how to make their facilities safer rather than leaving unnecessarily dangerous features and insufficient warnings.

    The problem is getting it past the lawyers.

    John mason

    "surfboy":kwrj17ha wrote:
    The lowhead dam death hole in St Catherines is one of the scariest things i have ever seen

    John mason[/quote:kwrj17ha]

    Hey John,

    I’m just wondering, when were you last down there?

    I’m not questioning that it was a ‘lowhead death hole’ when you were looking at it, and I don’t really want to start another debate about whether or not it’s safe to paddle there… I’m just trying to figure out if it has actually changed physically (crib breaking up or something) in the past 5ish years or so…..

    I was down there not too long ago with another really experienced paddler (well… a fair bit more experienced than me, actually), and we both agreed that the centre would probably flush out even more if it went up from the level we saw it at (highest I’ve seen it)….. I’m considering the possibility that the ‘death hole’ level you saw it at might actually occur at levels WAY LOWER than I’ve ever seen it (which kinda worries me)….. I’ve basically seen it at two levels, and at one of them (lower) it’s been a reasonable playspot, and at the other level (higher) it’s a sketchy playspot, but always flushes unless you get stuck on the eddy line….. It’s definitely the eddy line that makes it sketchy (class V playspot, I’d say), and while the eddy line would get sketchier at even higher levels, the centre looks like it would also get flushier…

    If the eddy line was horizontally river-wide it would certainly be a death hole… I’m thinking it’s either changed (breaking down), or the death hole happens at a very low level I’ve never seen…..

    In any case, you could make some pretty wicked stuff with that water and that drop….. I’m 100% in support of any project to improve that feature for kayaking, but I’d rather see improved big wave surfing than a dinky slalom course (if it’s one or the other)….. From above the weir to below the bridge it still doesn’t seem to me like there’s enough elevation to make any kind of creeking / river-running that isn’t dorky… It looks like it could have a bit more than one Whitehorse or Otter Slide (from the Gull), and that’d be the entire run… Nothing I’d care to paddle…..



    but have not been there to see it in 3 or 4 years.
    In the several times that I went to look at it, the recycle was 30" or 40".
    I had heard that there were levels that it was not so absolutely deadly.
    My preference would be big water play, but I think the problem with that is limited user capacity and a higher level of difficulty and intimidation.
    The busiest ski runs are intermediate and beginner and you have to admit that while high end paddlers would really appreciate a big water playpark the utility of an intermediate playpark with an advanced feature would make more sense.
    The facts prove that play has considerably more participation than slalom, but an intermediate play park lends itself to intermediate beginner slalom.
    Stuff like the credit.
    The real issue though, is igorance of paddlesports by the general public and large institutions.
    We are still seen as loonies out to risk our lives and the lives of the people who feel they have to rescue us whether we think we need it or not.

    Google Davey Hearn and the park service on the Potomac river to see how crazy it can get.
    Despite the official and public apology from the park service the ranger who assaulted him and had to be hospitalized for hypothermia told the media that he saved Davey’s life no matter what anyone said.
    (maybe it was W)

    I sure hope that you’re right about that spot, but from what I have seen OPG is going to be an adversary in any attempts at modifying dams for greater safety and recreation.
    Sure hope that I am wrong.
    Can anyone tell me whether there is Canadian legislation like FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). Dams built under FERC regulations must take downstream use and recreation into account in return for use of the public water resource. That was the law that originally made Upper Yough releases posssible and is one legal tool used all over the United states to get water concessions from dam operators.

    What legal tools do we have here in Canada?

    John Mason

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