The Lower Mattagami River Project Monitoring Plan was explored during a two day workshop held in Timmins, Ontario in the fall of 2011. GAEL was contracted in conjunction with Lorne Greig of Essa by the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to facilitate this large stakeholder group.
The workshop was designed:
- To fulfill the commitment related to effects monitoring identified within the Project’s Provincial and Federal Environmental EAs, Terms and Conditions of EA Approval, and the conditions of any permits and or approvals obtained or required by the Project;
- To review and gain consensus on the proposed monitoring programs to allow the EEM plan to be finalized prior to submission to the Mattagami Extensions Coordinating Committee (MECC) for final review and approval; and
- To ensure that opportunities for the incorporation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge into the environmental effects monitoring programs are explored and enacted as appropriate.
Lorne and Susan worked closely with the organizing committee to ensure that the objectives of the workshop were met, the format was conducive to interactive discussion and everyone’s voice would be listened to and recorded. In particular, any feedback from OPG, provincial and federal government, local government and First Nations representatives will be critical in the further development of the EEM plans and associated programs.
Two representatives from the Moose Cree First Nation, John Turner and Stan Louttit, together with Richard Preston, a researcher who has focused much of his work on Cree traditional ecological knowledge in the western James Bay Region, gave the workshop attendees a clear perspective of local understandings of the land, both traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and indigenous knowledge (IK).
OPG presented a detailed historical background of the Mattagami River Project, supported by visuals that gave everyone a sense of the change in the river and the structures over time. Kiewet-Alarie A Partnership (KAP), OPG’s design build contractor for the project, presented a detailed summary of the infrastructure changes and construction activities. Larry Onisto and Paul Burrows then provided a comprehensive background to how the river works, sharing LiDAR imagery, photographs and other data.
Environmental subcomponents were divided into four subgroups, comprising physical, terrestrial, aquatic and socio-economic, and two days of small group discussions presentations and discussions were facilitated by Lorne and Susan. The next steps include developing more detailed monitoring plans in light of the scope for the Draft Environmental Monitoring Plan resulting from the workshop; and working in collaboration with Moose Cree and TTN to further integrate TEK into the monitoring plan design.