Good afternoon Saugeen Ojibway Nation
We are pleased to announce that the refurbishment of Denny’s Dam is 95% complete. The remaining works are minor and out of the water. The coffer dam has been removed and the river bed has been fully restored. Key results of the rehabilitation efforts are the enhancement of fish habitat below the dam, reinforcement of the sea lamprey barrier, and anchoring of the dam to the bedrock.
It’s been over 7 years since this project started. Early on in the process, MNRF refused to consult, and it cost the SON leadership over $50,000.00 of legal and technical fees just to make a case for consultation. This project eventually stalled and Saugeen was left with the bill and no agreement.
In 2014, the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission (GLFC) contacted myself to understand SON’s position and the consultation SON required for the project. After 1 meeting, GLFC invited myself and 2 councillors from Saugeen to attend a meeting at their head office to discuss next steps. GLFC paid the outstanding costs and agreed to support and fund any consultation related activities that Saugeen required as part of the Project. GFC also agreed that they would not begin the project without your consent. MNRF was also removed from the file and communication was direct between GLFC and SON technical staff. SON technical staff studied the ecology of the river (fish, water, plants along the river’s edge), archeology, hydrology, engineering, designed pre and post construction monitoring, hosted community meetings (which were well attended) and most importantly, engaged Saugeen members directly in community consultation. The information and knowledge shared by community members was used as the ultimate decision-making tool and directed the entire project design.
The final stages of the project (decommissioning the construction and cleaning up the site) will wrap up completely in the next 2 weeks. This project has been nominated by the GLFC for an international award of excellence in recognition of informed consent and working with First Nations.
I wanted to provide this very important update for the community and invite you to feel free to stop by and see the site.
If you are interested in the maps and report created through community consultation with Saugeen, please visit the Saugeen Lands and Resources department.
Saugeen Ojibway Nation Environment Office