The Gunn’s Hill Limited Partnership has selected a recipient for the Gunn’s Hill Community Fund. This fund was established to give back to the community in which the Gunn’s Hill Wind Project resides in. A reoccurring amount of $25,000 will be allocated to help fund projects within the community for the duration of the 20-year Gunn’s Hill project contract. The Gunn's Hill Limited Partnership is a partnership between the Oxford Community Energy Cooperative, Prowind Inc and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation.
Hodges Pond is a 160-hectare property in Norwich Township, just south of Woodstock. Originally constructed as a mill pond, Hodge’s Pond has not been in use for decades. Due to the steady decline of its use, the reservoir is now a sediment-filled shallow pond with extremely low oxygen levels and high bacteria count. The poor-quality water has slowly been flowing into Cedar Creek and into the Thames River watershed due to the aging dam infrastructure.
This site has been a topic of conversation at conservation tables for the past 14 years. Many groups have tried to solve the problem of Hodges Pond but could not formalize or secure funding to remove the failing dam infrastructure. In 2001 the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority issued its first Watershed Report Card, which placed Cedar Creek near the bottom of the water quality grades. It was recommended to restore Cedar Creek through Hodge’s Pond. Over the next 10 years community groups worked on restoring this area but were deterred due to limited funding.
In 2015, the vision shifted, to garner community involvement and interest, the idea to re-naturalize the site and invest in trail space and eco-learning was introduced. This occurred at the same time a solution was proposed to bypass, rather than remove, the costly existing dam structure. This proposal drastically reduced the estimated cost of taking the dam off-line, it reduced the regulatory burden for the project approval and would reduce the potential liability of the structure for future trail development. In 2017, construction began on the new bypass channel and by Fall 2017 water had began flowing freely back into Cedar Creek for the first time in over 150 years.
Solving the problem of Hodge’s Pond is a cause that the partners felt best embodied the intention of the Gunn’s Hill Community Fund. The next phase of this project is already underway, project partner Ducks Unlimited Canada has begun wetland restoration in the outer areas of the pond. This will be a critical component to controlling the water flow once the stream is returned to its natural state.
More information will soon be available on our website and we will be highlighting this project in our Earth Day press release. Should you have any questions or would like more information on this project or Community Fund please do not hesitate to contact us.