Old Richmond Road through Stony Swamp

Please find below elements of the January 2014 Environmental Study Report for the Hope Side Road/Old Richmond Road (Terry Fox Drive to Highway 416) Class Environmental Assessment:

+ the main report (5.8 MB, 90 pp.)

Appendix F – Landscape Assessment and Evaluation report (“Context Sensitive Design and Landscape Report”) – 4.2 MB, 16 pp.

+ Appendix G – Natural Environment Report (“Natural Science Report”) – the main report (5.8 MB, 90 pp.)Appendices pp. 28-46, 7.5 MB

The Notice of Completion was posted on January 30, 2014.  Comments must reach the Minister of the Environment before March 3.

E.D.

4 February 2014

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Stony Swamp: Part II Order request, Media release

On March 2, the Greenspace Alliance filed a Part II Order request with the Ontario Minister of the Environment.  In brief, our objections are as follows:

1. The terms of reference for this project were not subjected to public consultations.

2. Directing traffic headed for Highway 416 via Fallowfield Road is a far more benign option.

3. Should the Minister decide to allow the study’s preferred option, then far more comprehensive mitigation measures are required.

Our requested remedy is that the Minister:

1. Order the City to comply with Part II of the Act, under terms of reference that include a proper and comprehensive assessment of the option of widening Fallowfield Road. Specifically, the terms of reference should include a full assessment of the negative impact on Stony Swamp under the Old Richmond Road/West Hunt Club Road option and the feasibility of mitigation that would achieve “no net loss” of ecological functions.

2. In the alternative, should he agree to discard the Fallowfield option, order that the project be allowed on condition that:

a – a study be completed to his satisfaction which uses the cumulative effects methodology applied in the November 2012 “Joint Study to Assess Cumulative Effects of Transportation Infrastructures on the National Capital Greenbelt.”

b- based on that study, a comprehensive mitigation plan be developed and implemented against the adverse impact of all wildlife, in addition to mitigation against adverse impact on species at risk. Before finalizing the plan, it should be subjected to peer review and public consultation.

c- it estimate the impact on peat and carbon sink loss, air quality, including benzene concentrations, and greenhouse gas emissions and identify appropriate mitigation measures;

d- it not include “wet” culverts under Old Richmond Road.

E.D.

2 March 2014

media release was issued 4 March.

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Stony Swamp: Part II Order Request forwarded to other Ministers

On 15 April 2014 we forwarded our Part II Order request regarding the proposed road widening through Stony Swamp to the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transportation (Canada), the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services (Canada), and the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation (Ontario), saying:

We take the liberty of forwarding to you our request for a Part II Order under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act regarding the proposal to widen a 2-lane road through Stony Swamp in the National Capital Greenbelt into a 4-lane divided highway.  We do so in the hope that you may impress upon your colleagues in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and at the National Capital Commission that more protection should be afforded to a natural area of the highest importance.  We know that your Ministries maintain the highest standards of environmental protection and purposely engage in best practices to that effect — standards and practices which we do not see reflected in the proposed project.

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Reply from the federal Minister of Transport

On September 17, 2014, Minister Lisa Raitt replied:

Dear Mr. Dreessen:

Thank you for your correspondence of April 15, 2014, which was also addressed to the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and the Honourable Glen R. Murray, Ontario’s former Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, concerning your organization’s Part II Order request for the proposed Hope Side Road–Old Richmond–West Hunt Club Corridor Environmental Study Report.  Please accept my apology for the delay in replying.

I should note that, although Transport Canada is not involved in this specific project, I appreciate your concern for the ecological heritage of the National Capital Greenbelt.  These are values that are shared by all levels of government, and I have confidence that Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Glen R. Murray, will give full consideration to your request and render a fair and informed decision.

Again, thank you for writing.

Sincerely,

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport

c.c.    The Honourable Diane Finley, P..C., M.P.
Minister of Public Works and Government Services

The Honourable Steven Del Duca, M.P.P.
Minister of Transportation
Government of Ontario

The Honourable Glen R. Murray, M.P.
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
Government of Ontario

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Stony Swamp: Minister replies to Part II Order request

On November 19, 2014, Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, sent out letters to two parties who had requested a Part II Order and to the City, allowing the widening of Old Richmond Road through Stony Swamp to go ahead but setting three conditions prior to construction.

The conditions are not onerous but require the City to work extra hard to minimize impact on Stony Swamp.  The letter to the Greenspace Alliance continues with eight pages of responses to concerns raised in our letter of March 2, 2014.

Here is the letter to the City

Here is the cover letter to the Alliance

Here are the Minister’s responses to our concerns

Comment:

It is unfortunate that for the sake of saving four minutes in commuter time the powers-that-be decided against a serious consideration of expanding Fallowfield Road, thus avoiding an impact on Stony Swamp altogether. Putting the best face on it, these two points are noteworthy:

+ page 9 of the Response puts a strong burden on the NCC:

“The National Capital Commission is in the process of completing its Stony Swamp Habitat Restoration Plan which will identify the future desired ecological conditions for Stony Swamp and a prioritization of restoration actions. As part of the federal environmental effects analysis, the National Capital Commission will conduct a comprehensive environmental study of the Project’s potential effects on Stony Swamp. The National Capital Commission will require the City to implement strict mitigation alternatives as part of the Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation.”

+ pages 10-11 of the response again make reference to the Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation and outline what mitigation measures will be considered.  Unfortunately there is still no specific mention of wildlife movement beyond endangered species and turtles.

In short, continued vigilance will be required to ensure that the best possible mitigation plan is devised and implemented.  The ball is now essentially in the NCC’s court to ensure adherence to standards and values as expressed in various policy statements.

Erwin – 28 November 2014

UPDATE: Media coverage: Adam Kveton in Ottawa Community News (Kanata Kourier) on December 4: “Province OKs four lane expansion through Stony Swamp — Greenspace Alliance concerns over wetland dismissed by environment minister.”  Far from being dismissed, everyone quoted in the article stressed the importance of the wetland!

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Update – 16 October 2015

Today the City provided us with the correspondence received from federal agencies:

+ a 15-page letter from the NCC (2.9 MB), dated 20 February 2015, setting out expected performance outcomes and recommended actions;

+ appendices:

  • Part 1 (8.6 MB) (correspondence from Environment Canada and the NCC, and a 26-page report dated March 2010, about the Western Chorus Frog:”Protocole et principes d’aménagement et de suivi de nouveaux habitats pour la rainette faux-grillon”;
  • Part 2 (9.0  MB) (asset reports, 2014 road mortality data, and various maps)