Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 10

Q - How and why did you become involved in the ORA?

A - In Oct. 2010, I heard through the grapevine there were four Modified Run-of-River hydroelectric dams proposed to be built on the Vermilion River – a river that cuts through a large portion of our homestead. At that time, I knew nothing about hydroelectric dams, and modified run-of-river sounded quite innocuous, but I decided to register as a stakeholder to learn more about what was proposed. When the proponent didn’t respond to my enquiries, the red flags started to go up, so I decided to do some research to find out if there were dams being proposed on other rivers in Ontario. It turned out there were 87 new hydroelectric proposals on dozens of Ontario rivers, and the proponent involved in the Vermilion River projects had 33 of those sites. As a result, I started the Vermilion River Stewardship in Jan. 2011, but quickly realized we couldn’t stop these hydroelectric projects at a local level and would need to create a bigger and stronger voice. So, I began contacting anyone I could find that was leading the charge against these other projects and organized a meeting that was held in North Bay in Feb. 2011. At that first meeting we decided on a name, and I was voted in as Chair of the Ontario Rivers Alliance. The rest is history.

Rivers and the passion and purpose to protect them