Vale staff made an online presentation to the Vermilion River Stewardship on 14 December 2021. It was an update on the ongoing upgrades to the Wabagishik Generating Station, on the Vermilion River and the Nairn Generating Station on the Spanish River. You will find the slide deck and audio of their presentation below.
Along its course, the river widens into several lakes, including Onwatin in Hanmer; Kusk off Panache Lake Road (watch out for leeches); Grassy; and Wabagishik, out on the fringes of Ward 2. Lake Wabagishik was made famous by the Group of Seven. Franklin Carmichael painted the lake in 1928 and if you have ever paddled along its waters, you will understand why he was inspired. At the southern end of Wabagishik is a set of rapids where the river narrows once again. It is very picturesque.
I fell in love with the Vermilion River last year when I decided to paddle this stretch in early October. The colours were just starting to pop and the riverbanks were explosively yellow and bright. It was like travelling through the sun. I bottomed out about six times and had to drag my kayak through the chilly shallow waters, but it was well worth the effort.
Home and cottage owners on Ella Lake and a stretch of the Vermilion River have been experiencing water levels much lower than usual this year, and Vale has issued the following information:
The Spanish River system has been used for waterpower generation for more than 100 years. Vale owns and operates 15 main water control structures and 5 generating stations while Domtar owns and operates 5 main control structures and 1 generating station.
The Spanish & Vermilion Rivers Water Management Plan sets out the details of the operation and management of each waterpower and control structure within the Spanish River and Vermilion River Watersheds. This plan was prepared by the Spanish & Vermilion Rivers Water Management Planning Team, and is available for viewing at this link.
As a result of our site visit of the Wabagishik facility on the 26thof February of this year, and your reassurance that the facility will continue to operate in accordance with the current Spanish and Vermilion Rivers Water Management Plan, with no anticipated changes to water levels, flows, sediment mobility or fish habitat, we have no concerns with the Project. In fact, the increased capacity of the new spillway to not fail under the 1:1000 year return event will ensure resilience in the face of the predicted increasing extremes of Climate Change.
Bob Florean is retired from 38 years working for the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, as a Fish & Wildlife Specialist and Stewardship Coordinator. Bob is also an avid fisherman, whose outdoor related passions include working with various community stewardship champions to enhance, protect and restore compromised natural resource values. Bob is also the founder of the award winning Manitoulin Streams Improvement Assoc.
VRS crew visit Wabagishik Generating Station at Lorne Falls, on the Vermilion River.VRS crew at spillway.
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October 26, 2013, the Sudbury Star
We can hear the rapids before we see them, a sibilant rumble that sounds almost like the name of the place we’re visiting.
Wabagishik, the word for both the whitewater ahead and the wind-ruffled lake behind us, turns out, however, to be only accidentally onomatopoeic. According to Linda Heron of the Ontario Rivers Alliance, who consulted a First Nations teacher for the definition, it’s the Ojibwe term for white cedar.
An update on the previous post found here.
It appears that what we thought was a done deal, is still uncertain. Xeneca has now invited all requesters to take part in a Project Liaison Committee meeting.
On the 11th of July, 2016, shortly after receiving the lists indicating that all of Xeneca’s FIT Contracts had been terminated, ORA and VRS wrote to the Minister protesting his decision to approve the Wabagishik Rapids GS, with conditions, on the grounds that it was based upon inaccurate and unsupported responses contained within the Ministry Review (Review) document, Xeneca Power Development Inc.’s (Xeneca) correspondence, and the Environmental Report (ER). The Minister’s office responded on the 16th of August, 2016, basically declaring that if we had questions about what was or was not contained in the ER that we should ask Mark Holmes. On that same day, Xeneca contacted the Chair of ORA and VRS with an invitation to attend the PLC. Read more →