FEDERAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

LOCAL RESIDENT’S GROUPS REQUEST FEDERAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT 

Background  

The Bradford Bypass is a provincial project which, thanks to the Bradford Bypass Exemption Regulation, O. Reg. 697/21now 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.

Key Documents

 

Support:

We are delighted with the extensive amount of support our request has received examples include:

 

Selected News Items