Sharkwater and Revolution director Rob Stewart turns cameras on saving Bala (1 Comment)

rob-stewart-directorOn September 22, 2014 at the all-candidates meeting at the Bala Community Center in Bala, Ontario – all eyes turned to a controversial energy proposal threatening the town’s historic waterfalls. Parked outside of the meeting was a 45-foot motor home that unloaded Sharkwater (2007) and Revolution (2013) director Rob Stewart, a film crew with five cameramen, and a Canadian Police certified polygraph operator.

Canadian corporation Swift River Energy Limited is proposing a hydroelectric generating station be constructed at the famed and National Geographic award-winning Bala Falls.

“My friends and I grew up playing in these waterfalls and I couldn’t imagine Muskoka without them,” says Stewart. “A power plant here would degrade the heritage site, could kill innumerable fish and aquatic species, and affect Bala’s economy by degrading the town’s most beloved tourist destination.”

This energy project is part of the Ontario Government’s green energy policy – awarding energy contracts to private for-profit corporations that will sell the energy to Ontario Hydro. Energy produced by the plant will apparently be sold at 17 cents per kilowatt hour – a price far above current energy prices – meaning taxpayers will be subsidizing this energy production.

This proposal has caused outrage within the local community where 93 per cent of respondents to an independently conducted survey on the Cottage Country Now website, support Muskoka Lakes council’s efforts to continue to fight Swift River Energy on their hydro electric project in Bala. Another survey conducted by Protean Strategies found that 83 per cent of respondents answered “No” to the question, “Do you think the proposed power plant at Bala Falls should be built?”

Despite the public sentiment, some political candidates vocally support the project, which has become an election issue.

“The town is curious why those supporting the power plant are doing what they are doing,” said Bala resident and business owner Bill Purks. “I doubt my business that has been around since 1973 will be here if the power plant goes through.”

At the meeting, candidate for mayor Don Furniss and township councilor candidate Greg Knight were asked by filmmakers if they would take a lie detector test administered by a Canadian Police certified polygraph operator on the following statement: “Neither I, nor any of my family, businesses or affiliates stand to benefit from the proposed hydro power plant in Bala.” Both candidates agreed on camera to take the test after the meeting, but later refused.

There has also been concern about lawsuits being launched against opponents to the project, including a lawsuit against Mayor Alice Murphy.

Due to the significance of the land to First Nations, the federal and provincial governments and the corporation must consult with all potentially impacted First Nations. The Wahta Mohawks have not been consulted, according to Chief Philip Franks of the Wahta Mohawks community, and the plant would degrade the historically significant Bala Portage as the only water passage connecting the Muskokas to Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario.

“I am very concerned with the failure of various governments to involve our community in any or all discussions leading up to the decision to move forward with the development of this hydro-electric development without our full participation, under the Duty to Consult and Accommodate,” says Chief Wayne Pamajewon on behalf of Shawanaga First Nation.

A group of Bala townspeople have started a petition they believe will stop the powerplant (click here to sign the petition) and a letter writing campaign to inform the relevant politicians.

Stewart and his team are developing a film around the grassroots movement that’s opposing the power plant. “Its just the kind of story people need to hear,” said Stewart. “Everyone should know they have a powerful voice.”

Super fast Spandex Shark Suit (2 Comments)

So, the journey begins. I’m on a plane to France to support Big Change – a charity created by some friends and collaborators in changing the world. I’ve never biked this far or long in my life! 500k in four days… On a very small bike seat… I’m so excited!! Manifesting bright weather:)
And… It’s Shark Week – the biggest shark event since Jaws… And kinda a big reason people are so afraid of sharks. This year we’ve partnered with LUSH cosmetics and Ubisoft’s Hungry Shark Evolution to fuel Fin Free – the campaign to get shark fin banned around the world. I can feel it – we’ll have a global ban on shark fins by the time I’m 40:)
Follow me on Instagram – and twitter @teamsharkwater
Much love xo

A present from France (2 Comments)


Thank You!

Shark Fin Soup, a poem (No Comments)

photo: SeaWatch

Look at the looks that the faces of these sharks are giving you the top looks to be in pain as it suffocates and the bottom has a stare of “why didnt you stop this” or “why did you let this happen to me”

photos: courtesy of Thierry Minet

The fish that
Most everyone hates
Its name,
The Shark

The dislike has
Been around, near forever
But only with “Jaws”
Did it turn from dislike to hate

At first we killed
For sport or out of fear
Now we kill for
The sharks fins
Dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, anal and caudal (tail)

The shark is caught
sometimes on (long) line, sometimes in nets
It is brought on board
Out of the life giving sea
Into the suffocating air

The shark is held in place
Sometimes killed, sometimes not

The fins are cut off
One at a time
First the largest
Then down in size
Until the
Smallest in size is cut off

The shark without fins
Is just a shape
Called a fusiform
And similar to a cone and a tube

That once was whole
But now is not
It is skin, organs, muscle, skeleton
Mouth and brain
It is no longer alive and well
Its fins are gone

The shark is thrown over the ships side
This shark is dying
The death will come from
Weeks of agonizing starvation
Hours of breathless suffocation
Or the shark which was once predator
Will become prey for the first and last time
Eaten by what it once ate
The scavengers will put it out of its dying misery
In minutes of painfully getting eaten alive

This was all started
With one knife
One line or net
One person

Just for a single
Bowl of soup
Said to give prestige and status
A single hundred dollar
Bowl of soup
That is not often called
Shark fin
But Fish wing or Prestige Fish

No one knows
Nobody cares
That to make that bowl of soup


by Joseph Dedrick

This is a tale of endangered fishes (2 Comments)


This is a tale of endangered fishes.  Some like to feast on and call delicious.
Stolen from the ocean for the smallest of pieces, damn scurvy pirates and the end of a species.
With long lines and big nets, the ocean is plundered.
To meet the demand for this magical wonder.
Some say just kill them, before they can bite you.
Fish aren’t the bad guys, you’re not on the menu.
People ‘round the world would have to stop and think
if every dolphin on the Earth was suddenly extinct.
Is that thought too crazy?  Hard for you to hear?
100 Million sharks will die this year.
Your first call of duty, a place to begin.
Boycott any menu that offers you fin.
The choice is all yours when you order food.
Eat soup made with shark fin and you’re a killer too.
We have to rise up and fight this disease.
Or there’ll be no future for you or for me.
If we let it happen, if we don’t follow through,
the oceans all die and we’ll be goners too.
I will just leave you with this final note.
The poor seas are fragile and real close to broke.
If you’ve been touched by this little song,
please go visit

Michael R

How the reintroduction of wolves has changed Yellowstone for the better (No Comments)

Wolves had been absent from Yellowstone National Park for almost 70 years, but when they were reintroduced, their presence changed the park for the better. Watch the video to see how.