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October 1, 2012
For immediate release

Trans-Canada Highway realignment project granted environmental approval

Environment, Labour and Justice

A proposal to realign six kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway has been approved under the Environmental Impact Assessment process, says Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice Janice Sherry.

“After hearing from the project proponent – the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, reviewing public input and considering expert advice, the department has come to the conclusion that this project can be carried out while protecting our Island environment,” said Minister Sherry.

“Any kind of construction project affects the surrounding environment, but with the environmental controls proposed by Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, the conditions set by my department, and the federal approvals issued today, I am confident this work can be carried out in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Under the Environmental Impact Assessment process, approximately 300 members of the public contacted the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice to express opinions about the Trans-Canada Realignment project or to call attention to environmental effects of the project.

“People have written to our department to ask for protection of watercourses, preservation of natural areas and minimizing impact on local wildlife. I have been careful to focus this assessment process on environmental issues and to make sure that environmental considerations are addressed in the proposal and the conditions attached to this approval,” said the minister.


Conditions of approval - Trans Canada Highway realignment

• Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) shall construct the project as documented in the “Environmental Assessment: Trans-Canada Realignment through New Haven-Bonshaw, Queens County, PEI” and the amendments made to the original plan.

• TIR shall authorize funding to the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice to authorize a dedicated Environment, Labour and Justice employee to oversee all environmental aspects of the project and assess all environmental impacts and their mitigation.

• Within 12 months of this approval, TIR shall develop and implement long-term management and protection plans for all environmentally sensitive lands in the Regional Assessment Area of this project. These lands shall include but not be limited to the roughly 400 acres of land included in parcels 860031, 219253, 219154, 218636 and 218669. To preserve these lands, TIR shall consult with provincial departments and local non-governmental organizations with an interest in co-management and protection of the identified areas.

• TIR shall be responsible for communicating regular project updates to the public and responding to public inquires concerning the project.

• TIR shall comply with all provisions of the revised Environmental Protection Plan (EPP). The EPP must include erosion control measures designed to withstand a 1 in 25 year rainfall event.

• In the event sediment from the construction project enters a watercourse, TIR shall immediately cease operations in the affected area and implement measures to divert sediment from entering the watercourse.

• TIR shall immediately notify the Director of Culture, Heritage and Libraries Division in the event of discovery of archaeological materials during construction.

• TIR shall immediately report all contaminant spills or releases to, and complete any necessary clean-up activities to the satisfaction of, the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice.

• TIR shall obtain a Watercourse, Wetland and Buffer Zone Activity Permit for all work conducted within 15 metres of watercourse or wetland.

• TIR shall obtain all proper permitting and approvals prior to any construction or development within natural areas on parcels 218925, 706556 and 686816.

• TIR shall ensure all contractors, subcontractors and agents are aware of and comply with the terms and conditions of this approval.

Chronology - Trans Canada Highway realignment

• February 7, 2012 – Environment, Labour and Justice receives Environmental Impact Assessment application from Stantec (on behalf of TIR), along with a scoping document.

• February 10, 2012 – Provincial and Federal Regulators declare a harmonized Environmental Assessment for the Project and agree on content of scoping document.

• August 2, 2012 – Draft Environmental Impact Statement submitted. Copies distributed to Technical Review Committee and posted on website. Federal regulators also received EIS. Public press release issued by ELJ to let public know that the pertinent assessment documents were now available for viewing.

• Provincial Technical Review Committee for this project included: Dept of Environment, Labour and Justice (4 Divisions), Dept of Agriculture and Forestry, Dept of Health and Wellness, Dept of Tourism and Culture. Federal reviewers included: Transport Canada, Dept of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada.

• As per the Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines, for six consecutive days (August 18-24th), TIR ran a newspaper advertisement for the public information session meeting.

• August 27, 2012 – Information Session held for general public to discuss environmental aspects of the project.

• September 6, 2012 – Closure date for receiving public comments. All public comments and TRC comments forwarded to Stantec for clarification.

• Approximately 300 pieces of correspondence received from the public – broken into three categories – Non-environmentally related comments, Environmentally related comments already addressed, Environmentally related comments which should be addressed or clarified.

• September 19, 2012 – Second draft EIS received, with comments from TRC and public addressed. Few outstanding issues yet to be clarified to regulators satisfaction.

• September 28, 2012 – Final Draft EIS received.

• October 1, 2012 – Both Federal and Provincial regulators issue EA Approval.

Media Contact: Ron Ryder
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