In 2005, the Ministry of Natural Resources, without consulting First Nations or any other people, contracted Hatch Energy to conduct a survey of Ontario rivers that would be suitable for hydroelectric development. When the survey was concluded, information was posted publicly and bids were solicited for hydro development, again, with no consultation with First Natins or any other people.
The Trout Lake River, with no consultation with the people whose traditional land this is, was one of the rivers selected for hydro development -- three sites on the river were identified. Big Falls was the most convenient site because it is road and power line accessible. On June 13, 2007, MNR announced that is approved, without consulting the NamekosipiiwAnishinaapek, Horizon Hydro Inc.'s proposal to develop a 3.2-MW hydropower project at Big Falls.
The First Nation people of Trout Lake, the NamekosipiiwAnishinaapek, have opposed these plans from the first. This river has been their main annual migratory route and Big Falls is of huge cultural significance. Today, it is a center of camping, canoeing, traditional education, feasting, sweat lodge and other ceremonial activities. It is also an important recreational and economic site for other residents of the area.
We, the undersigned, because of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has been the impetus of these plans right from the beginning, want the OMNR to withdraw all approvals to the Hydro-electric plans at Big Falls. We want the OMNR to protect Big Falls and the whole Trout Lake River from any development plans.