Road Blocks

 

Road Blocks

There are five major impediments standing in the way of EA approval for the Bradford Bypass.  These are all based on the requirement to prove both the Need and Justification for this highway based on independently verifiable evidence rather than government policy or whim.

These impediments are all based on The Rule of Law:

The Rule of Law

The Rule of Law requires the government to follow the Statutory Environmental Regime.

This is difficult in this instance given that the government is relying on an obsolete Environmental Assessment.  Furthermore, this EA Approval may no longer be legally valid due to the government’s failure to comply with the conditions that were incorporated into the Minister of Environment’s 2002 EA approval. 

To circumvent this issue, the government is now proposing to pass a regulation which essentially, re-approves the original EA approval while waiving all conditions other than any that may be imposed as a result of significant new Environmental Protection Legislation such as the Protect Lake Simcoe Act.  This proposed regulation is posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights, Environmental Register as 019-1883.

“The project would no longer be required to complete a TESR or DCR(s) in accordance with the Ministry of Transportation’s Class EA. As a result, the Ministry of Transportation would not be required to distribute a Notice of Completion for the TESR or DCR(s) which would normally initiate a 30-day public consultation period.”  

This regulation has not been passed but could be at any time if the government feels that it is getting bogged down by the Class EA study currently underway. From our perspective, such a move would constitute an abuse of process, abuse of power and would likely fail at a judicial review.  The problem is that, absent an immediate injunction, by the time the matter got to court, construction of the highway bridges, such as that over Yonge St. by the Lower Landing, would be well underway. Under that scenario, the province would simply say “sorry, but this project is already committed and construction has commenced.”

Our hope is that, if this regulation is passed, the Federal Impact Assessment Agency will intervene.  A prior request for a Federal Impact Assessment was turned down because Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change essentially said he had confidence in Ontario’s robust environmental assessment regime.

“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. These include:
      • provincial approvals and permits pursuant to the Environmental Assessment Act, Endangered Species Act, Environmental Protection Act, Ontario Heritage Act, Ontario Water Resources Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act.”

 

The premier is frustrated with what he calls red tape and process.  He wants expediency. Fortunately, Democracy requires due process as prescribed by law to ensure that the intended legislated outcome occurs.  Autocrats achieve expedient results by arbitrarily passing whatever law they deem necessary to get the results they want regardless of who or what gets hurt.  

 Because we still live in a Rule of Law country, we are counting on the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change to intervene should Ontario pass any form of Regulation or Statute to override the safeguards afforded in the Ontario Acts listed in the Minister’s above noted decision.   

The remaining major impediments are:

  • The lack of evidence based need and justification for a 16.2 km, 4 lane, controlled access highway through this highly environmentally sensitive area.
  • The impact this highway will, or could have on the health of Lake Simcoe.
  • The encroachment of the rights of our First Nations population, most specifically the Chippeaws of Georgina Island.
  • The unknown impact on private wells

 

Each of these impediments are addressed on the sub-menu pages to this page.