Ontario Waterpower Association, Parks Canada announce canal management collaboration

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The Ontario Waterpower Association and Parks Canada have announced a collaboration to manage and develop the hydroelectric power potential of Ontario's national historic canal system.

Titled Towards a New Business Relationship: Waterpower on Parks Canada Agency Waterways, OWA said the framework is expected to foster new infrastructure investment and support the long-term sustainability of the province's Trent-Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal.

"This report will serve as the foundation for a new business relationship," OWA President Paul Norris said. "Our participation in this joint effort has itself provided for improved communication and cooperation."

The report addresses a shared desire between the hydropower industry and Canada's federal government for "clear, consistent policy and procedures that encourage investment in waterpower infrastructure and help Parks Canada to realize the revenue potential of hydro generation."

All revenues generated by Parks Canada canal operations are reinvested back into the canals, with the agency responsible for maintaining infrastructure including dams, locks and bridges essential for the operation of generating stations located along the waterways.

More than two dozen hydropower plants are located along the Trent-Severn Waterway and Rideau Canal systems, combining for an overall output capacity of about 100 MW and US$1.16 million in revenue for Parks Canada.

"Our government is committed to the financial sustainability of Canada's historic canals and the communities along them," Member of Parliament Rock Norlock said. "This framework shows how governments and private industry can work together to streamline processes and support the national historic canals' infrastructure for the benefit of all Canadians."

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