FEDERAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
LOCAL RESIDENT’S GROUPS REQUEST FEDERAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
The Bradford Bypass is a provincial project which, thanks to the Bradford Bypass Exemption Regulation, O. Reg. 697/21, now has full Environmental Assessment Approval. The major condition of the original 2002 EA approval, the requirement to conduct a Class EA, has been eliminated. We believe this unprecedented retroactive legislative move was made to overcome the requirements to consider reasonable alternative solutions and other routes. These are required by the Class EA
process and the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. O.Reg.697/21 fixed the route of the Bradford Bypass to its current corridor thus eliminating the Class EA and overriding the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.
MTO refuses to consider any reasonable alternatives although both the Ravenshoe Road Corridor and two corridors south of Newmarket would be preferable given the problems we now know about the Bradford Bypass route. This route passes through the Holland Marsh, adjacent wooded wetlands and over a significant length of lakebed land which has extremely low load bearing capability. The full environmental impact of this highway is not known while its cost, per km will be astronomical!
As set out in the accompanying fact sheet, we believe a totally new, impartial study of both provincial and regional transportation needs is both needed and warranted.
The province’s refusal to conduct a comprehensive new Environmental Assessment based on current factual information rather than 25 year old obsolete facts and legislation prompted a formal request by Ecojustice (in February 2021) for a federal Impact Assessment, (environmental assessment). A similar request was concurrently submitted for the province’s proposed Hwy 413 project. While the Minister of Environment and Climate Change subsequently approved the Hwy 413 request, he declined that for the Bradford Bypass.
“The Minister has reached the decision that the designation of the Project is unwarranted for the following reasons:
- the regulatory review processes that apply to the Project and related consultations with Indigenous peoples provide a framework to address the potential adverse aforementioned effects and public concerns raised in relation to those effects…..”
A description of the major activities for a Federal Impact Assessment is provided by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.
The enactment of O.Reg. 697/21 prompted FROGS, together with Bradford’s Stop the Bradford Bypass Group and Concerned Citizens of King Township to issue a renewed request for a federal Impact Assessment. Our fundamental argument is that the passing of O.Reg.697/21 terminates the regulatory review processes for this project referred to in the Minister’s decision. The Bradford Bypass project now enjoys final EA approval. There is no further opportunity to address items such as the impact of the highway on Lake Simcoe, any form of meaningful public consultation or the public’s appeal rights incorporated in the now eliminated Class EA Study. Our Formal request was issued November 9, 2021. The Minister declined the FROGS request for designation by letter dated February 10, 2022.
- Ecojustice Request for Federal Impact Assessment – February 3, 2021
- Federal EA – Minister’s decision – May 3, 2021
- FROGS et al Request for Federal Impact Assessment – November 9, 2021
- FROGS et al update letter to Federal Minister of Environment December 2021
- Minister’s decision declining FROGS request for Federal Impact Assessment– February 10, 2022
- Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition / Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition Letter to all Lake Simcoe Watershed Council setting out the consequences of O.Reg 697/21 – November 2021
- PRESS RELEASE: FROGS, TOGETHER WITH 6 MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY GROUPS, LAUNCH JUDICIAL REVIEW OVER MINISTER’S SECOND DECISION TO DENY IMPACT ASSESSMENT DESIGNATION
- Application for Judicial Review of Minister of Environment’s decision to deny Impact Assessment Designation
We are delighted with the extensive amount of support our request has received examples include:
- House of Commons Petition sponsored by Leah Taylor Roy MP, Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, Liberal Caucus
- December 8, 2021 letter of support to Minister Guilbeault from 63 environmental, farm and community organizations
- Lake Simcoe Watch – Letter Campaign
- Margaret Attwood – tweet January 15 2022
Selected News Items
Will Doug Ford’s highway gift to developers cost him a majority government? By Joel Wittnebel – Nov 13, 2021 – Brampton, Mississauga
- Has Ford’s ‘end run’ around environmental protections to build highways handed Trudeau a perfect opportunity? By Joel Wittnebel – Dec 30, 2021 – Brampton, Mississauga
- The Bradford Bypass and its impact on the environment – By Gordon Prentice – Published Jan 16, 2022
Gord Miller, Ontario’s former environmental commissioner: Trudeau must do what Ford won’t―kill the Bradford Bypass. – By Gord Miller – January 21, 2022
Bradford Bypass threatens ancient Indigenous site ‘more significant than 95 percent of all historic/archaeological sites in Canada’. – By Joel Wittenbel – January 23, 2022 – Brampton, Mississauga
- MP Leah Taylor Roy, MP debates Bradford Bypass with Darryl Wolk, a Newmarket area conservative, on Brian Crombie’s Sauga Radio 960 AM – January 26, 2022
- Doug Ford setting dangerous precedent with Bradford bypass – by: Myron Humeniuk of Tiny Township – international development professional and former member of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Board. – January 29, 2022
- ‘A shame and travesty’_ Despite damning audit, PCs double-down on harms to species at risk _ The Pointer – February 23 2022
- Healing Ontario’s fractured ecosystems_ how grassroots efforts are stitching greenspace back together _ The Pointer – February 19, 2022