It took me 2 months to obtain a copy of the environmental report for the Terry Fox Road extension. The report states:
“the South March Highlands is literally unique within the City of Ottawa. Both upland and wetlands habitat are Provincially Significant, ecologically placing them on a par with landscapes such as Algonquin Provincial Park, Windsor’s Ojibwa Park Prairie and protected areas along the Niagara Escarpment.”
Yet incredibly, the so-called environmental report is devoid of ecological concern and fails to place any priority on ecological issues.
1. Ms. Wilkinson, the City Councillor for Kanata, will be surprised by the fact that the environmental studies that she thinks were performed actually have no analysis, consideration, nor plan to protect endangered species.
- Nowhere in the 300 MB of material is this important topic addressed and it is disturbing that a City Councillor may have been misled on this fact.
2. Although the environmental report recognizes that the area being threatened is ecologically significant at a provincial level, less than 25% of the report addresses the natural environment.
- The majority of the report examines human environmental aspects such as bus ridership, noise from traffic, etc.
3. In the ecological section, the report notes the presence of endangered plant and animal species in the area under study and then proceeds to ignore that fact for the balance of the report.
- One would expect that endangered species would have received deeper analysis and consideration or at least highlight the need for such a study in its final recommendations – but it did not.
4. Even though ecological impact was clearly established as being the most important criteria for the environmental study, the report selected the alternative that it rated to be the absolute worst for the natural environment!
- And, after selecting the ecologically worst routing for the road, the subsequent alignment analysis also failed to select a mitigation option which would minimize impact to the natural environment (given that the environmentally worst route had already been selected).
- This occurred in both cases because a flawed paired-comparison methodology failed to establish weights for the criteria used.
5. Incredibly, the memo on 17 April 2000 from the Planning & Development Approvals Commissioner, to the Transportation Committee failed to discuss the obvious concerns that
- the routing alternative being recommended did not align with the highest priority criteria set by the Transportation Committee, and
- endangered species were present in the area and that further ecological study was warranted prior to finalizing the recommendation.
6. The only concern expressed with the recommendation was that it would lead to additional pressure to develop sensitive natural and agricultural areas.
- The current plan sets up even more ecological problems in future.
7. The traffic volume portion of the main ”environmental study” forecasts over 1000 vehicles an hour during peak periods but does not provide a forecast of animal deaths caused by this volume.
- The mitigation strategy that it recommends consists of posting animal crossing signs to alert drivers. This is outright ecological irresponsibility.
8. The alignment study provides for a single passageway but does not provide an analysis of how effective that would be considering that slow moving turtles are unlikely to hike down to the passageway just to cross the road.
9. In fact in no place in the report is the magnitude of ecological impact assessed.
10. The City of Ottawa’s own report shows that current plan for the Terry Fox road extension is the worst possible ecological option both short and long term. This is a flawed project that must be stopped immediately and sent back to the drawing board.
Construction activity has already started and significant habitat damage is about to occur to the Blanding’s Turtle. The soil temperature in the spring is crucial for the survival of the turtle population.
The truth about this flawed environmental study needs to be brought into the sunlight of public awareness. With informed public opinion, it will be easier for Council to make the right decision to stop this impending environmental disaster.
Please share these findings as much as possible so that we can stop this thing.