They have value form a humanistic viewpoint: value without water control, without power generation, without irrigation.
These are the places that people, need to see, hear and enjoy without concrete, only rocks, trees and sky.
We are trying to save the Kipawa River's ecosystem from desecration, while fighting for navigation rights on Canadian waterways.
Our purpose is set out clearly in our constitution:
To protect the ecological and recreational values on the Kipawa River from Laniel to Lake Temiscaming.
To achieve this mission Les Amis will:
a) EDUCATE and INFORM people about the important historical, ecological, recreational, tourism, and heritage values on the Kipawa River.
b) PROMOTE the wise use and conservation of the natural resources of the Kipawa for broad, long-lasting benefit of people.
c) COLABORATE with the people of Laniel and Temiscaming Region in the development of innovative uses for the Kipawa river that will provide economic benefits while protecting the values of the Kipawa river for future generations.
d) ADVOCATE at all levels (through municipal, provincial and national governments) for the conservation of the Kipawa River as an aquatic ecosystem and an important natural resource, and actively pursue formal legal protection for the river through designation as a park or protected area.
The section of river we are concerned about is approximately 16km long, and runs from Laniel Quebec, to Lake Timiscaming.
Currently, there is a dam redevelopment project underway in Laniel. Our organization is not against the rebuilding of the dam, however, we feel the new design does not take into consideration a number of important ecosystem components; including the maintaining of historic river levels, and the preservation of navigation rights.
The organization has challenged the process in Federal court in the recent past. The decision that was handed down was against the organization. However, we have retained a lawyer to appeal the process.
This appeal will be the last activity of The Friends of the Kipawa, but it has national implications. It challenges what ecosystem considerations and activities should be brought into Environmental Impact Assessments for future dam developments.
Summary of income/expenses for previous year (40 words or less):
We have managed to raise some money through various initiatives.
We have expenses.
We are looking to MEC to help us with monetary funding and in-kind aid with communications.
We are appealing a Federal court decision regarding redevelopment of the Laniel Dam on the Kipawa River. We aim to prevent ecosystem desecration and preserve a safe 40-year navigation history.
Project Detail (600 words or less):
Friends of the Kipawa have retained Rod Northey, of Birchall Northey to bring the appeal of our case before the court. Doing so will cost Friends of the Kipawa River legal fees and an unknown amount of money as we create publicity surrounding this case and unsustainable river development in Canada.
Friends of the Kipawa River brought the Laniel Dam redevelopment to the Federal court in the fall of 2007. We are not against the redevelopment of the dam, but seek a better design that incorporates historical river levels for the preservation of the ecosystem and accommodation of the historical navigation rights of recreational river users.
In addition, if this project is not successfully challenged, it will become the cornerstone for a 130Mw hydro-electric project in the region that threatens to divert the majority of the water from the Kipawa river, through a blasted channel across the landscape between Lake Kipawa and Lake Timiscaming.
This project is not only significant to the Kipawa, but to rivers across Canada. With respect to dam development and sustainable project design, the case at Laniel has two notable areas of concern. The Environmental Assessment (EA) was not performed in the spirit of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and incorporation of the ecosystem’s needs, as well as the historic navigational rights, were not properly considered in the redesign.
With regard to the first area of concern, it has been widely recognized that to create more sustainable projects, diverse stakeholder interests must be recognized. The Federal government, as owners of the dam, were able to propose the redevelopment, perform the EA in-house, approve their own findings and move forward with construction. The spirit of the CEAA was to generate the most sustainable project results. A closed process that lacks the presence of safeguards and criticism, surly cannot fulfill this spirit and must be challenged.
Second, the proponents failed to incorporate the navigational rights of the river. The recreational users interests were marginalized in the process and public input was disregarded and interests in design were ignored. Even with a safe 40-year history of navigating the river by watercraft, the government lawyers unfairly classified the practice as dangerous. They, however, granted motorized vehicles such as ATVs and snowmobiles design considerations – without any speculation on the dangerous of their activities. With a successful appeal, this case can create an important precedent for the inclusion of recreational river users and navigation rights within EAs and river project developments.
Description of how project meets category criteria:
- Without this case going forward in court, and sufficient public attention being drawn to it, river development such as this may go unchecked and natural capital forever destroyed.
- There will be hundreds of river users who will benefit from this direct case if the appeal is won, in addition to the local community who will benefit from the continuation of the river festival. Beyond the Kipawa River, we hope that this case will help garner respect for recreational users when it comes to any river development across the country.
- This case is about the minimization of impact from a project. We are fighting for preservation of navigation rights, which should translate into historic river levels and temperatures being maintained.
- There are a large number of Members of the organization behind this. In addition to this there is a dedicated core of executives committed to this fight as well as approximately 15 or so volunteers who have helped coordinate funding and administration tasks. This is aside from river festivals that have taken place, and will hopefully take place again in the future.
- Our administration fees are very low, the majority of costs are associated with the current legal proceedings and public awareness campaign.
Plans for project follow-up and evaluation of success :
With public awareness campaigns, we will monitor and base success on amount of coverage and response. The legal case success will hinge upon public support and our lawyers abilities.