Save Georgian Bay

is a grassroots organization committed to stopping TC Energy’s proposal for a pumped storage plant in Meaford, Ontario, which could cause irreparable harm both to the Niagara Escarpment and to the waters of Georgian Bay.

Why We Are Opposed

Save Georgian Bay supports efforts to combat the climate change crisis with renewable energy sources and electricity storage solutions. But we believe that TC Energy’s proposed Pumped Storage Project in Meaford is not the best way to decarbonize the grid. It threatens irreversible harm to both the Niagara Escarpment, a UN-designated World Biosphere Reserve, and the fresh water resource of Georgian Bay, as well as to its fish and entire aquatic ecosystem on which residents depend. A handful of municipalities around the Georgian Bay basin agree and have voted to oppose the project.

Newer, more efficient and less environmentally-invasive technologies have already rendered this multi-billion-dollar hydro-electric project obsolete. And its soaring price tag, capped at $7 billion, will burden Ontario electricity consumers for decades. Even the government’s own regulators have vetoed the project. Twice in the last three years the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which manages Ontario’s electricity needs, has concluded that it fails to deliver any net economic benefit to provincial ratepayers. Nevertheless, Energy Minister Todd Smith has over-ruled his independent experts and vowed to proceed.

TC Energy’s proposed Pumped Storage Project will:

  • Excavate a 375-acre reservoir on the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
  • Pump 23 billion litres of Georgian Bay water up the escarpment at night, when electricity rates are low, and release them in the day when demand and rates are high, a process that will repeat daily for at least the 50 to 100-year lifespan of the project.
  • Require a 20-metre high concrete dam around the 4.8-kilometre perimeter of the reservoir, which will not be subject to regulation or hazard classification under existing Ontario laws.
  • Bore massive shafts and tunnels into the Niagara Escarpment, big enough to drive a bus through, connecting the reservoir to gigantic underground turbines and intake/outlet pipes beneath the lakebed.
  • Bury 50 kilometres of high-voltage cables underwater between Meaford and Wasaga Beach, causing potential damage to water quality and the entire fragile aquatic ecosystem of the most populous stretch of Georgian Bay.
  • Consume 30 percent more electricity pumping the water uphill overnight than it can store and release during the day.
  • Actually increase, not decrease, greenhouse gas emissions during its four-year construction.
  • Spread contamination from the acres of unexploded munitions and other toxins on its site, an active military base, which—once disturbed during construction—could pollute local wells, aquifers and the fresh water of Georgian Bay itself.
  • Put at risk as many as 30 endangered species the Defence Department has catalogued on the base.
  • Endanger the residents of 300 homes, farms and cottages currently situated below the reservoir, should it leak, overflow or otherwise be breached.

Our Supporters Speak Out

Land Acknowledgement

Save Georgian Bay acknowledges that we live and work on the traditional lands and treaty territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which includes the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. We also recognize the Métis whose ancestors shared this land and these waters. We extend our gratitude to all Anishinaabe and Métis peoples and their descendants, past, present and future, who continue to care for and inhabit these lands and tend these waters.