After recent trespassing incidents, Ontario Power Generation warns of water dangers
TIMMINS -- Following some recent trespassing at one of its facilities, Ontario Power Generation is sending out the message to anglers and sightseers to stay away from potentially dangerous areas.
Officials say generating stations are located in scenic locations, but if dams need to open to move water, lives could be at risk.
Beauty surrounds the Lower Sturgeon Generating Station on the Mattagami River between Timmins and Driftwood and Ontario Power Generation. Officials say it's one of many stations in northeastern Ontario that attracts many people, especially anglers.
"We did have an incident recently at this location where individuals boated up to the boom and walked around the boom and were fishing on the other side of it, and that was very concerning," said Kate Cantin, stakeholder relations advisor for Ontario Power Generation, northeast operations.
Officials said people have been also known to walk around on the rock outcrops, but they say as the need for hydro electricity in the province fluctuates, and that the generating stations are controlled remotely, water levels are unpredictable.
"If you were to look at this area you would say there is no danger here, but if we were to actually start running our hydro electric units or open up our spillway, this very calm area becomes very fast with torrid water," said Jamey Deforge, director of plant operations for Ontario Power Generation, northeast operations.
Deforge said all generating stations are equipped with surveillance cameras. As well, site checks are done. Anyone who's caught trespassing will be reported to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and police.
"We do address them from an educational point of view," said Marc Depatie, communications co-ordination for the Timmins Police Service. "But those persons who persist can end up charged with a trespass to property act offence."
Public safety for Ontario Power Generation is its top priority. Officials ask when you see signs, booms or fences, to please respect them in order to stay safe.