Swift River Energy Ltd, its President and the construction company working at the controversial Bala Falls Hydro site face charges after alleged Township bylaw breaches.
The charges, registered by the Township of Muskoka Lakes’ bylaw department in Bracebridge Provincial Court were laid after work went on after hours recently annoying local residents and allegedly breaking a lease agreement and noise bylaw.
Swift River Ltd. Spokesperson Nhung Nyguyen says Swift River doesn’t believe they’ve done anything wrong… (above audio)
The company's full response, issued to Country 102 follows:
"There has been recent media coverage concerning discussions between the Township of Muskoka Lakes and the North Bala Falls hydro project. The root cause of the current issue is that the company decided to voluntarily delay excavation work on the project until after the Cranberry Festival this fall to accommodate community requests to minimize any disruption for tourists. As a result, the winter construction schedule for the project is significantly compressed. We are now working round-the-clock for a short period to finish lake bed excavation before Christmas to avoid any work-related disruptions for the community over the holiday season. We are not in violation of any Township noise bylaws at the premises.
Knowing that the round-the-clock work is an inconvenience, we approached the Township with a practical proposal. We offered to self-impose escalating fees of up to $5000 per day that would total as much as $35,000 and would be an incentive for our crew to work as quickly as possible to minimize the disruption. The Township could then direct the funds to whatever local community application or cause they chose.
We are disappointed that our good faith offer was rejected. Our hope is that we will be able to continue the dialogue with the Township."
In total, five charges were laid against Swift River, five against CRT Construction while Swift River President Frank Belerique faces three. The fines total $65,000.
The first court appearance slated in connection with the charges is January 9th.