High Falls and Manitou Falls Hydroelectric Project Description

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1. General Information

1.1 General
This Project Description has been prepared to meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and the provincial Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) for Waterpower Projects (OWA, 2008).
1.1.1 Name and Proposed Location of Project
The name of the project is the Manitou and High Falls Hydro Project. The proposed project is located on the Pic River, approximately 20 km northwest of Manitouwadge, Ontario (Figure 1.1).
1.1.2 Nature of Project
Manitou Falls (Site 2BB04) and High Falls (Site 2BB02) are located on the Pic River approximately 70 and 85 km upstream from Lake Superior. These sites were released by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as potential waterpower developments as part of Competitive Site Release Package (CRP) number CRP-01-07. In response to the CRP, the Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation (PRFN) submitted a Plan of Development (POD) to the MNR on January 28, 2008. MNR awarded PRFN Applicant of Record Status on April 28, 2009. Accordingly, PRFN is proposing to construct hydroelectric facilities at Manitou Falls and High Falls. The facility at High Falls would have a generating capacity of 3.2 MW and would consist of a short overflow weir with two sluices and an adjacent intake structure at the head of the falls, with a penstock leading to the powerhouse at the base of the falls. The facility at Manitou Falls would have a generating capacity of 2.8 MW and would consist of an overflow weir with an intake canal leading to the powerhouse, located on the east side of the river, adjacent to the downstream end of the falls. The facilities will convey power from their switchyards to an interconnection point on the existing 48-kV distribution line running from the Twin Falls GS on the Kagiano River south of the proposed facilities. The design information to date is based on the design provided in the POD, which in turn, is based on the Prefeasibility Study (Chant, 2007). Feasibility studies and field investigations will be required to optimize the design and it could be subject to change from that presented herein.
1.1.3 Purpose of the Project
The purposes of the project are to
  • generate environmentally sustainable hydroelectric green power on a consistent, reliable basis
  • connect to and utilize the existing distribution grid to deliver power generated by the project
  • sell the generated power under an electricity contract from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to derive financial benefits for PRFN.
    1.1.4 Parties who Received the Project Description
    This Project Description has been submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEA Agency) in Toronto for distribution to relevant federal agencies including Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Transport Canada (TC), Environment Canada (EC), Health Canada (HC), Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and any other agencies deemed relevant by the CEA Agency. The Project Description will also be submitted to the MNR (Wawa), Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) in Thunder Bay, the Ontario Ministry of Culture (MOC) and the Town of Manitouwadge. In addition, the Project Description will be provided to the PRFN, Pic Mobert, Longlac 58 and the Ginoogaming First Nation and will be available for review by members of the public commenting on the provincial Class EA Notice of Commencement.
    1.1.5 Federal, Provincial and Municipal Agency and Stakeholder Consultations
    The agencies and organizations shown in Table 1.1 are among the entities to be consulted for this environmental screening/Class EA. All of the agencies and stakeholders listed in Table 1.1 were sent an introductory letter and copy of the Notice of Commencement in September 2009. The Notice of Commencement was also published in the Marathon Mercury, Manitouwadge Echo and Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal.

    Table 1.1 Government Agencies and Organizations to be Contacted
    Federal Government
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
    Environment Canada
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
    Health Canada
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Transport Canada (TC)
    Infrastructure Canada
    Provincial Government
    Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
    Ministry of Culture
    Ministry of Energy
    Ministry of the Environment (MOE)
    Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)
    Ministry of Transportation
    Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry
    Municipal Government
    Corporation of the Town of Manitouwadge
    Corporation of the Town of Marathon
    Municipality of Greenstone
    First Nations
    Pic River First Nation
    Ginogaming First Nation
    Pic Mobert First Nation
    Longlac 58
    Industry/Commercial Stakeholders
    Manitouwadge Public Consultation Committee
    Manitouwadge Economic Development Committee
    Ontario Waterpower Association

    1.1.6 Other Environmental Assessment Processes
    This project is subject to the Class EA for Waterpower Projects (OWA, 2008), which is an approved Class EA under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. The project is considered to be a ‘new project on an unmanaged waterway’ and will be assessed in accordance with the Class EA requirements for such a designation.
    1.2 Contacts
    1.2.1 Proponent and Contact Information
    The project proponent is Pic River. There are no co-proponents involved in this project. Contact information for Pic River is as follows:

    Mr. Byron LeClair, Director, Energy Projects
    Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation
    P.O. Box 193
    Heron Bay, Ontario
    P0T 1R0
    Telephone: (807) 229-1749
    Email: bleclair@picriver.com

    1.2.2 Proponent’s Consultant
    Pic River retained Hatch Ltd. to conduct the Class EA for this project. Contact information is as follows:

    Project Manager
    Larry King
    Hatch Ltd.
    4342 Queen Street, Suite 500
    Niagara Falls, Ontario
    L2E 7J7
    Phone: 613-478-3572
    Fax: 905-374-1157
    Email: lking@hatch.ca

    1.3 Federal Involvement
    1.3.1 Financial Support
    Pic River may apply for federal funding under the Green Infrastructure Fund.
    1.3.2 Land Ownership
    The land to be used by the project (i.e., for the generating stations, overflow weirs, head ponds, switchyards, access roads and transmission line corridors) is provincial Crown land. No part of the project will be located on federally owned land.
    1.4 Authorizations Required
    Table 1.2 outlines the potential federal, provincial and municipal permits and approvals that might be required.

    Table 1.2 Federal, Provincial and Municipal Approvals
    Permit and Legislative RequirementAgency
    FEDERAL
    Authorization for Works and Undertakings Affecting Fish Habitat - Fisheries Act [Section 35(2)] DFO
    Authorization for Destruction of Fish by Means other than Fishing - Fisheries Act (Section 32) DFO
    Approval for Construction in Navigable Waters - Navigable Waters Protection Act (Section 5) TC (Marine)
    PROVINCIAL
    Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LRIA) – Location Approval and Plans and Specifications Approval MNR
    Water Management Plan MNR Cultural Heritage Clearance – Phase 1 Archaeological Assessment Ministry of Culture Permit to Take Water – Ontario Water Resources Act (Section 34) MOE
    Certificate of Approval (Industrial Sewage) – Ontario Water Resources Act (Section 53) MOE
    Certificate of Approval (Air and Noise) – Environmental Protection Act (Section 9) MOE
    Waste Generator Registration – Environmental Protection Act [Section 18(1)], Ontario Regulation 347 MOE
    Notice of Project and Registration of Contractors – Construction Regulation 213/91 Ministry of Labour

    An authorization from DFO under the Fisheries Act and approval from Transport Canada (Marine) under the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) will likely be required. Either will trigger the need for an environmental assessment under CEAA. If Pic River obtains federal funding, this will also trigger the need for a federal environmental assessment under CEAA. Since the proposed project is less than 200 MW, a screening level environmental assessment would be completed in accordance with CEAA and respective guidelines.


  • High Falls and Manitou Falls Project
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