(May 15 2:30pm BALA) The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry today gave another important green light to Swift River Energy Limited (SREL): the hydro development company now has its full licence of occupation for the Crown lands designated for the North Bala Falls hydro project.
In a release today, the company explains that “under this tenure, Swift River will have control of the site to complete all necessary construction activities. These lands include the Project site, Margaret Burgess Park, Diver’s Point and a small piece of land between Highway 169 and Purk’s Place.”
A previously issued Land Use Permit (November 2014) had several conditions associated with it, effectively limiting Swift River’s ability to complete its preparatory and construction activities. The Licence of Occupation issued today gives the company full use and control of the lands to complete all the construction works.
There has been no expected start date announced by Swift River.
Also in the release today, the company stated “The North Bala Small Hydro Project is expected to cost approximately $25 million to construct, of which an estimated $10.8 million will be spent locally over the 16-18 month construction period.” When contacted, representatives of the company said they were not giving further interviews today.
Meantime, at Township of Muskoka Lakes Council, the public has just been invited back in after a Closed Session to deal with a question of whether an amendment to a resolution coming out of the Bala Falls Working Committee can be handled at Council today. At the previous Committee of the Whole meeting, a vote to accept SREL’s offer of a lease in return for lands that would keep Margaret Burgess Park open during construction was defeated. A motion this morning was discussed about asking for more money ($150K) from SREL but was not tabled after Councillor Phil Harding asked for a legal opinion on whether the motion could be amended as discussed.