The Environmental Assessment Branch of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has determined that the proposed reconstruction of Sideroad 26/27 Project is appropriately classified as Schedule C under the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA).
The ministry has notified all relevant stakeholders regarding the appropriate classification of the project, including Blue Mountain Watershed Trust’s George Powell.
“Following our review of all of the information provided to the ministry, including the project documentation provided by the Township of Clearview (proponent), the ministry has determined that the project is appropriately classified as Schedule C. As a result, the ministry has advised the proponent that the project is not a Schedule A+ undertaking under the Class EA,” wrote Environmental Assessment Branch acting director Andrew Evers in a letter to Powell dated Dec. 28. “The ministry’s determination is based on the change in the purpose and use of the road following reconstruction and the need to realign a watercourse to address erosion and flooding impacts on the road. As the ministry has determined that the project is appropriately classified as Schedule C, the proponent is required to carry out the assessment process in the Class EA before proceeding with the project, including consultation and preparation of an Environmental Study Report (ESR). This includes a minimum 30-day period for public review of the ESR after the filing of the Notice of Completion.”
“We are very pleased,” said Powell. “That is the process that should have been followed from the very beginning.”
The Echo wasn’t able to obtain a copy of the letter sent to the Township of Clearview, from staff but CAO John Ferguson commented, saying “We are reviewing and processing the letter from the MECP. With that said, we intend to take the MECP up on their offer to meet.”
BMWT is amongst opponents who have been lobbying the ministry for several years to expect a more stringent assessment of the 26/27 Sideroad reconstruction project, which is separate but directly linked to a plan to close County Road 91 to satisfy an old agreement associated with the quarry.
Earlier this year Donnelly Law has circulated a witness statement in support of the reclassification of the proposed construction upgrades to the 26/27 Sideroad to the Environmental Assessment Branch of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Clearview Township, and the media on behalf of clients Wendy Franks and David Stevenson and their allies at Blue Mountain Watershed Trust, who continue to fight against the closure of County Road 91.
A hearing with regards to the proposed reconstruction of 26/27 Sideroad was adjourned indefinitely after the classification of the project under the Environmental Assessment (EA) Act came into question.
“For years, we’ve been saying that this project is misclassified and that the environmental impact of the road development is serious. We’re pleased that the Ministry of Environment agrees with our assessment. We believe the best outcome for the public is to keep County Road 91 open,” said Franks.