Elliott Falls small hydro plant opening doors to public

Eilliott Falls Small Hydropower Project

The Elliott Falls Power Corporation is opening its 700-kW Elliott Falls hydropower plant to the public as part of this year's Doors Open Ontario celebration.

Doors Open Ottawa is part of the Doors Open Ontario program -- an annual event in which residents are invited to visit some of the most "interesting and architecturally intriguing buildings and sites" for educational and cultural enrichment.

Tours of Elliott Falls will be available September 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"We are delighted to be hosting a tour at the Doors Open Ontario event this year," Elliott Falls Power Corporation president Kearon Bennett said. "The Ontario public and even many Kawartha Lakes locals may be unaware that the Elliott Falls facility exists. This tour will help increase awareness while promoting the history of the area."

The project -- located along the Gull River in the southeastern part of the province -- was originally developed in the early 1900s to supply power to a nearby cement factory, then decommissioned in 1928.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources released the site for redevelopment in 1988, however, as part of a government initiative to encourage private development of small hydro.

The rehabilitated project was commissioned in 1990, operating under a long-term power purchase agreement offered by Ontario Hydro.

"Featuring waterpower in the Doors Open Ontario campaign is a natural fit," Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) president Paul Norris said. "Many Ontario communities were built around waterways, and waterpower was their first source of electricity."

Fellow OWA member Hydro Ottawa announced its participation in Doors Open Ontario earlier this year with tours of its Chaudiere Falls project.

"These events provide the public with a unique opportunity to sneak a peek inside some historic gems and some brand new projects," Norris said.

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