Property owners around Round Lake in Ontario were successful in their bid to certify a class action lawsuit against Renfrew Power Generation Inc. (RPG) related to soil erosion. The property owners claim damages for trespass as a result of water encroaching on their properties, which they allege was caused by the operation of the Tramore dam. Round Lake is part of the Bonneshere watershed, a series of rivers and lakes running eastward out of Algonquin Park and emptying into the Ottawa River. A small dam was constructed at the east end of the lake in 1913 by the former Ontario Hydro, which ultimately raised the water level of the lake in 1917. The dam is now operated by the defendant RPG.
The plaintiff landowners claim that RPG has intentionally and continuously trespassed on their land on many occasions over the years since 1917 by operating the Tramore dam to store water in Round Lake to generate electrical power. They claim that RPG’s actions have caused water to erode and now cover part of the plaintiffs’ lands.
The plaintiffs acknowledge that RPG had legal authority to raise the level of the lake to the 107.5 feet elevation in 1917 and therefore did not commit any trespass by so doing, however, they argue that a trespass has occurred and continues to occur because erosion has occurred over time such that water now covers or has escaped onto their lands, which are beyond the initial boundary between the water and the shoreline that would have existed if the level had been raised to 107.5 feet in 1917.
Read the decision at: Plaunt v. Renfrew Power Generation Inc.