Power of Water Canada Conference to Feature Community Engagement

Ontario Waterpower Association Releases Community Engagement Toolkit

TORONTO, Oct. 11, 2016 /CNW/ - The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) is pleased to announce the release of a new Community Engagement Toolkit for Waterpower Developers. This toolkit provides an overview of the community engagement process and includes examples of methods that can be applied at a project level, considerate of the specifics of the project and the community. This document is not a prescription for a process, rather it offers a range of tools that may be used by those leading or supporting community engagement initiatives.

The Community Engagement Toolkit will be presented at the Power of Water Canada Conference and Tradeshow on October 18th in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Those interested in attending the largest hydroelectric conference in Canada, please register HERE.

"Ontario has more than a century of history in community waterpower development and ownership," said Paul Norris, OWA President. "This document builds on that history and will help waterpower practitioners to develop and implement community engagement plans at the project level."

In 2016, with support from the Independent Electricity System Operator's (IESO) Education and Capacity Building Program (ECB) the OWA outreached to municipal representatives through three (3) engagement sessions to provide basic information about waterpower development and to gain insight and information on community involvement and experiences.

The Municipal Engagement Sessions confirmed the value of working collaboratively with waterpower developers and highlighted the need for a 'Toolkit' to offer insight and direction to the waterpower sector about not only the complexities associated with engaging at the community level, but importantly, about doing it constructively.

"Ontario once boasted more than five hundred (500) small hydro facilities spread across the province", added Norris. "While there are still over two hundred (200) waterpower facilities in operation, there is significant untapped potential at non-powered dams. Investing in these existing structures can be a win-win for the environment and the community."

The OWA is a not-for profit organization representing the common and collective interests of the waterpower industry.  The OWA is the proponent of the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects in Ontario and has developed a series of environmental Best Management Practices to support new development. For more information, please visit owa.ca.

SOURCE Ontario Waterpower Association

Image with caption: "Community Engagement Toolkit for Waterpower Developers (CNW Group/Ontario Waterpower Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20161011_C6699_PHOTO_EN_792729.jpg

For further information: Stephanie Landers, slanders@owa.ca, Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA), Communications and Public Relations Advisor, 1-866-743-1500 ext. 25

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