Huntsville woman charged with mischief protesting at Swift River construction site in Bala on Thursday
BALA — A Huntsville woman protesting the planned Swift River hydro project here has been arrested and charged with mischief.
Peggy Peterson, a Huntsville opponent of Bala Falls power plant, has been charged with public mischief for her protests at the Bala power plant site. Her trial date is in early October.
Provincial police said Monday officers responded Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, at 8 a.m. to a construction site on Bala Falls Road in Muskoka Lakes Township and began conducting an investigation into the complaint of a woman who was said to be interfering with the movement of construction equipment into the site.
As a result of their investigation, police say they have charged 58-year-old Peggy Peterson with mischief, contrary to Section 430(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
She is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice located in Bracebridge on October 3, 2017 to answer to her charge.
Local residents concerned about the possible diversion of water from the Bala Falls have been protesting the construction of hydro dam at the popular tourist attraction for the past decade.
Save the Bala Falls continues the fight on behalf of several people in Muskoka Lakes, and especially Bala, which saw bridge construction at the Moon River site this summer delaying traffic.
Peterson is an ardent opponent of the Bala Falls hydro project.
She camped out at the portage site for months in protest, including in winter.
Scores of Bala residents brought her hot meals, firewood and other daily support (the Bala Bay Inn supplied the hot meals day-after- day and local residents delivered them).
Rob Stewart, the award-winning documentary maker who grew up at a Torrance cottage, did a mini-documentary supporting the Bala protest and featured Peterson.
Bala resident Jack Hutton said last week: “Looking back in my files, I remember that I wrote a lengthy column on the history of Purk’s Place for Muskoka Today in September, 2008, warning about the implications of building a power dam at the Bala Falls.
“It is now finally coming true.
“As of yesterday, Purk’s Place looks totally under siege, crowded on the bridge side by two giant trailers that will remain there for the next couple of years or as long as it takes Swift River to change our Bala Falls forever.
“When I last saw Purk’s Place around the dinner hour yesterday (Sept. 5), heavy equipment had swallowed up the space in front of the iconic building, which is possibly the oldest business in Bala.
“I find it interesting to see what I wrote nine years ago this month. What will I write two years from now?”
Hutton added: “I am rather proud of my bride (Linda Jackson-Hutton), who spent three hours holding up a sign at the bridge yesterday to express her support for our little town.
“Scores of passing motorists responded with a non-stop chorus of horns for Linda and the others beside her.”