CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada13 Jun 1986, Fri • Page 3
Nelson Fraser is getting a real charge out of the creek in his back yard these days, and damming the flow of hydro bills into the bargain. A life-long native of White Lake village just south of Arnprior, Fraser and his son David, became electrically self-sufficient this year by rebuilding a “dam across Waba Creek. And Nelson, 68, appears to have recharged his own batteries and gained new zest for life in ” the process.
Frasers have lived in the heart of White Lake on the same property since 1906. Three generations have gazed out the same back window at a dam originally built by a local sawmill company to facilitate log traffic down the waterway. But Nelson had never been ‘ content with just looking at the ” dam. He always wanted to buy the badly deteriorated structure, ”a dream fulfilled about 10 years ago.”
The idea of adding a generator to the 30-foot-high dam the Frasers built to replace the old structure came from friends Laurier and Michael Dupuis. The Dupuis father-and-son team of engineers are owners of Galetta Power Ltd., a hydro substation in nearby Galetta. “Laurier came up with the idea of putting in a generator while we were working on rebuilding the dam,” Fraser recalls. “And Michael came up with the idea of building it so we could sell excess power to Hydro.”
Working on the project with their Galetta friends each fall , for three years, the Frasers, who operate a local trailer park and sawmill, rebuilt the dam with cribs made of squared timber and packed with rocks. More than six metres below the dam, and five metres above ‘ the creek bed, sits the tiny powerhouse. An almost century-old water- wheel turns 24 hours a day. The wheel, originally part of the Waba sawmill, drives a generator that spins silently under a new plank powerhouse floor. Shiny, grey metal boxes in the powerhouse monitor the power flow to the home of each of the Frasers, while a third records profits made by sending excess electricity to Ontario Hydro.
A network of underground wires lead to a nearby Ontario Hydro pole. “We will have the capacity to produce 700 kilowatts a day during April, May and June,” Nelson says. “And we wouldn’t use a fraction of that ourselves.” A spokesman for Arnprior Hydro says 700 kilowatts is enough to power 35 houses. Nelson is reluctant to reveal exactly how much Hydro is paying him. However, he estimates his initial costs to lay several hundred metres of wire, purchase other equipment, rebuild the dam and construct the powerhouse will take less than two years to recoup. In the meantime, Nelson has no Hydro bills to pay and the satisfaction of taking his family one step closer to energy self-sufficiency. “It’s a great feeling,” Nelson says. “I’m saving money and having fun. “I’ve been heating with wood for a long time,” he adds with a smile, “but I’m planning on switching to electric heat.”
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada13 Jun 1986, Fri • Page 3
The back forty: Farm life in the Ottawa Valley Perfect Paperback – Jan. 1 1990
White Lake: Myths and Maps — CLICK
Over the years we have heard cottagers and residents of White Lake bristle at the
suggestion that the lake is artificial, created when the first dam was built in 1845. In one
publication the author states that “when a dam on Waba Creek was constructed it
resulted in the water levels increasing in three previously small interconnected water
bodies”, and thus forming the lake as we see it now.
We do not have a picture of the dam as it was in 1845, however the photo below shows the
condition of the dam in 1919. This dam was rebuilt in 1948 and was changed to the
present-day concrete structure in 1968.
The Water Dragon of White Lake? 1936
The Doctor Dolittle of White Lake–Harry Brown
The Cement Dam at High Falls 1919
Geddes Rapids Bridge 1903 — Dalhousie Lake
Did You Know About the Crotch Lake Disaster?
The Clachan – William Smith– The Buchanan Scrapbook
Memories of the Lumber Era- The Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings and Local photos from-Nigel Klemencic-Puglisevich