The Marmora Mine site, surrounded by its slag heap - proposed site for the 'lake-in-the-sky'
Following is a letter-to-the-editor* from Marmora citizen Kathy Hamilton about the recent Council meeting she attended, where further plans were presented regarding the 'pumped water storage' scheme at the old Marmora Mine site.
When I moved to this area 23 years ago, a similar scheme was being floated: to fill the huge open pit mine, now a gorgeous sky-blue lake, with Toronto garbage. I kid not. Locals formed the group MARMORA TAKES NO TRASH (TNT) and this ill-advised scheme was squashed. I remember marching in a long ragtag line of protesters on a hot summer day to the mine site, and also attending public meetings at the town hall. So there is a history of activism in this small village (population around 1,500) once the public becomes fully aware of the scope and potential 'problems' with these various schemes.
* I sincerely hope the two area newspapers will publish Kathy's letter, and also the media in the closest larger centres, Belleville and Peterborough. According to Kathy, she hasn't had much success having her views publicly disseminated in area media.
June 26, 2012
My knickers practically knotted in excitement when I noticed the Agenda for the media-attended, regular afternoon meeting of the Big Gov't Wannabee Council for the Municipality of Marmora and Lake of June 19, 2012 said there would be a Delegation by Mr. John Wright, Northland Power - re: Update of Pumped Storage Project.
Surprise! Two representatives from Hatch were brought along, with Mr. Hans de Meel giving an additional presentation.
Could this mean the Sold-Out Little People in Marmora might finally get to immediately, publicly rebut and openly debate Northland Power representatives and their statements ( even better, those from Hatch too), for the first (and last?) time since the same day of June 10, 2011 that this post-dated project proposal was initially revealed to them - following its secretive council sanctioning June 7, 2011 and top-secret negotiating “for about a year” (or maybe “for several years” depending on who is quoted) prior to that?
Was news forthcoming, unlike that December 2011 Newsletter “Update” newspaper ad propaganda, posted to the municipal promo page?
Notta chance. Meeting opened, Delegate presentations made, Presenters packed up and Departed while meeting carried on. 3 minutes allowed for "public input" wasn't 'til near meeting end – pointless. Our private discussions outside won't count; weren't recorded or witnessed by anyone unbiased.
Northland Power's Tim Richardson had seemingly been brought along to enable getting Mr. Wright's microphone correctly adjusted, so we could hear his project "update" presentation of nothing much beyond "he said, they said, we said" favourable gossip from meetings with the Bigger (and Smarter?) People of Importance Still Holding Out, Elsewhere – whose “update” inferences must likewise flow as freely as cheap wine.
Mr. de Meel's “update” regurgitated Northland Power's insistence that project design safety guarantees are provided by following criteria under strict government and industry dam safety regulation, then shifted “update” focus onto providing his rendition of the local opposition's year-ago-studied Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) details and causes of Taum Sauk's similarly-constructed, original upper reservoir's catastrophic breach.
Anyone who has lived here long or knows this mine's history was surely impressed to get “update” information that the spring-fed lake in the mine pit had merely developed from precipitation? This gem provided today's basis for “update” confirmation that there could never be any such overtopping of the upper reservoir here in Marmora like the one that caused the Taum Sauk catastrophy, because of this limited water availability for the "lower reservoir" pit.
Whomever may have questioned any project supporters' sudden, latter-day interest in this long-avoided topic may have felt equally "reassured" by Mr. de Meel's exhonerating confirmation that any flooding due to any such overtopping problem here would just go "into the river" (with the people, vehicles, debris and homes inbetween?).
Neither he nor Mr. Wright gave an "update" to there remaining no explanation as to why the people whose lives and homes to be potentially imperilled in Marmora should not have been publicly assured on June 10, 2011 that they equally deserve and will be given the same level of protection from this upper reservoir's posing unnecessary potential for catastrophic, man-made flooding – as was provided to the surrounding, lower-elevation lands not even permanently human-occupied between the NEW Taum Sauk upper reservoir that was reconstructed to far superior and modern “public safety” standards – with “update” roller-compacted concrete walls.
That should have been the "update" that wasn't – just like there wasn't, but long ago should have been: "update" provisions for an open public debate between the "representatives of the proponents" and the well-informed local opposition; "update" media interviews with the local opposition; "update"apologies from every complicit politician continuing denial of political voice to local opposition concerns - and the "update" results of that multiple-Ministry "review" of this so-called "MarmoraPumped Storage Project" that was to have been under the leadership of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, as stated in a letter dated August 24, 2011?
Kathy Hamilton – Marmora