Share your Thoughts: Proposed Hydroelectric Project at 4th Canadian Division Training Centre in Meaford, Ontario
From: Department of National Defence (DND)
Current status: Closed
The Department of National Defence (DND) conducted a notification and meaningful consultation process with Indigenous groups who may be impacted by a hydroelectric pumped storage project proposed by TC Energy Corporation (TC Energy) at 4th Canadian Division Training Centre in Meaford. We also engaged with third-party stakeholders, including the local community, as well as municipal, provincial and federal partners. We provided updates on the proposed project, and consulted with potentially impacted Indigenous groups to ensure that Indigenous interests and concerns were heard and responded to.
Who was the Focus of this Consultation?
The Government of Canada consulted and engaged with:
- Indigenous communities that may be affected by the proposed project, as well as cottage associations, and municipal, provincial, and federal partners.
What is the Proposed Project?
TC Energy has approached DND with a proposal to construct and operate a hydroelectric pumped storage facility on part of DND’s 4th Canadian Division Training Centre (4 CDTC) next to Georgian Bay in Meaford, Ontario.
Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada has granted TC Energy a priority permit under the Dominion Water Power Act so it can begin preliminary feasibility studies. The priority permit only gives TC Energy the right to be first in line to undertake feasibility studies for this type of project in the identified area. In 2019, DND provided TC Energy with a one-year access agreement to complete its studies. This temporary access is being carefully coordinated to ensure minimal impact to military training and operations at 4 CDTC Meaford.
In summer 2020, DND negotiated another access agreement with TC Energy to enable them to enter into the hazard zone to complete aquatic studies. It is our intent that this agreement could also be extended to include activities under an Impact Assessment, if DND makes the decision that TCE can proceed to an Impact Assessment. This access agreement does not imply that the proposed project has been approved. A decision on land-use is still expected in late November 2020.
If TC Energy decides to proceed with its proposed project after it has conducted its feasibility studies, it would be subject to further government review and approvals in consultation with Indigenous groups, the Meaford community, and other interested parties.
TC Energy’s proposed hydroelectric facility would consume less-expensive “off-peak” power at night to pump water from Georgian Bay into a storage reservoir located at the top of the Niagara Escarpment on 4 CDTC property. The reservoir would be emptied back into Georgian Bay during “peak” usage periods, driving hydraulic turbines to generate electricity.
TC Energy has stated that the proposed project would cost around $3 billion to complete, and would be able to generate upwards of 1,000 megawatts of electricity.
TC Energy has stated 4 CDTC Meaford may be a unique site in Ontario for the proposed project, due to its close proximity to both Georgian Bay and the Ontario power grid. It also has an elevation of over 150 metres, and includes more than 200 hectares of land that is inaccessible to the public, allowing them to construct the major facility infrastructure above ground on the escarpment, rather than underground.
DND’s Decision Framework
DND is analyzing the proposed project to better understand any potential impacts on military operations and training. We are also looking at issues such as security, Indigenous and treaty rights, real property management, the environment, potential public policy benefits, and species at risk. However, these inquiries are preliminary only. If DND decides that TCE can move forward on the Impact Assessment separate analysis on these issues would be led by other federal departments and agencies should TC Energy’s proposal proceed past this early stage in the process.
These would include the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC), Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), as well as relevant provincial government stakeholders. DND remains responsible for controlling access to the land at 4 CDTC Meaford.
Consultation and engagement updates
Since May 2019, DND has:
- Provided information and updates to 38 Indigenous communities and groups concerning possible impacts to Aboriginal or treaty rights by providing TC Energy access to 4 CDTC Meaford. Consultations with interested Indigenous groups are ongoing;
- Received over 600 emails and letters from interested individuals and parties;
- Engaged with and heard from the public at three community town halls held by TC Energy, with over 400 people in attendance at each session;
- Made a presentation at the Municipality of Meaford Special Meeting of the Council on 1 June 2020, which was live streamed and is available on the Municipality’s YouTube channel; and
- Held meetings with interested community group leaders.
What we are hearing
DND thanks you for submitting your feedback and opinions. They are important to us and have been recorded for consideration. We have heard your concerns about the environment, including possible impacts to the water and local ecosystems, the community’s safety, health concerns, and the importance of the land and its historical ties to community members. We have also heard your support for the economic advantages associated with the project.
The Government of Canada recognizes our legal duty to ensure that meaningful consultations take place between the Crown and Indigenous communities whenever the Crown contemplates decisions or actions that may have an adverse impact on potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. We will ensure that we hear and respond to Indigenous interests and concerns.
As well, we are committed to taking steps to maintain good relations with our neighbours regarding how we manage our property.
- For more information about the technical aspects of the proposed pumped storage project, please visit TC Energy’s website
- For more information about 4 CDTC Meaford
- Dominion Water Power Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. W-4)
Directorate Real Property Services, DND
60 Moodie Drive
Ottawa (ON) K1A 0K2
For further questions about TC Energy’s proposed project, please contact TC Energy at, 1-844-551-0055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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