Green energy plan gives Ontario tourist town the blues

Monday, August 2, 2010 – Globe and Mail

BALA, ONT. — The view from the teal-tinged, bobbing wooden dock at Purk’s Place is cottage country – bucolic and conflicted.

To the right, Lake Muskoka, dotted with homesteads and holiday places on tiny islands; to the left, a railway bridge, century-old dam and the whoosh of Bala Falls dropping into Moon River.

And a string of neon-orange warning buoys: Dam ahead – keep away.

But what has residents, businesses and cottagers here on edge is not the existing pair of dams, both dating to the late 19th century. It’s a hydroelectric generator to be built metres away from the falls at the centre of town – 4.3 megawatts worth of Ontario’s vaunted goal to become North America’s green energy capital.

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