• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

No shortcuts to the environment on Bradford Bypass – Keffer

In Agencies
Feb 5th, 2021
Mayor Rob Keffer

Statement on the Highway 400-404 Connecting Link from Bradford Mayor Rob Keffer

This is a critical piece of infrastructure, and the need for the Highway 400-404 Connecting Link (also known as the Bradford Bypass) has been definitively proven through extensive public consultation as well as technical studies. As a farmer and conservationist I am confident the Provincial Government is undertaking all due diligence, including some 15 Environmental Studies that are being done in order to update the EA.”

Because of traffic congestion in our area, and the impact on our residents, our Town wanted to find out what our residents thought:

On December 12 and 13, 2016, the independent agency First Contact was retained by the Town to conduct an automated survey of BWG residents regarding their attitudes toward the proposed Highway 400-404 Connecting Link.

The results show 85% of residents favour or strongly favour construction, while 10% are undecided and just under 5% oppose construction. Support for the project is strongest among the 72% of residents who reported they are very familiar or somewhat familiar with the project. Seventy-six percent of respondents believe that the project will deliver the benefits of smog and congestion reduction.

I know there has been concern about the Provincial Government’s changes to the Environmental Assessment process, and the Conservation Authorities Act, but I have been assured that public consultation and due diligence will be maintained.

If you go to the Bradford Bypass web page https://www.bradfordbypass.ca/

The following environmental discipline studies will be carried out during the current preliminary design study:

-Agricultural Impact Assessment;
-Air Quality Impact Assessment;
-Archaeological Assessment (Stages 2, 3, & 4, as required);
-Cultural Heritage Assessment;
-Drainage and Hydrology;
-Erosion and Sediment Control Risk Assessment;
-Fish and Fish Habitat Existing Conditions and Impact Assessment Report;
-Fluvial Geomorphology;
-Groundwater Impact Assessment;
-Land Use and Property Impact Assessment;
-Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment;
-Preliminary Landscape Composition Plan;
-Snowdrift Assessment;
-Terrestrial Ecosystems Existing Conditions and Impact Assessment Report (including an assessment of vegetation and vegetation communities, wildlife and wildlife habitat, species at risk and designated natural areas); and,
-Waste and Excess Materials Management Plan.

When I have been involved with Environmental Defence, the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, and Aware Simcoe I have made it clear that I was in favour of the Bradford Bypass, but there would be no shortcuts to the environment, and we needed to do all studies and remediation that was necessary to protect the environment.

4 Responses to “No shortcuts to the environment on Bradford Bypass – Keffer”

  1. Laura Bowman says:

    This is not an accurate description of the provincial process. The province has proposed an exemption from the Class EA requirements (the website where Mr. Keffer gets this list of 15 studies is from the Class EA webpage) AND the conditions of approval for the 2002 EA. You can read the exemption yourself here: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-1883

    The exemption would allow construction of bridges and other undefined “early works” potentially before these studies are completed. There would not be a requirement for Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks approval. There is no complete list of proposed conditions for the exemption so no one can promise that *any* of these Class EA studies will actually be required or completed prior to construction. This list is not in the proposed exemption posting. If they were going to do all of these studies prior to construction and consult the public they would not require an exemption from the Class EA.

    • Ann Truyens says:

      Thank you for explaining this procedure more accurately Laura.
      It looks like even Mayor Keffer doesn’t really know what’s exactly involved and what the Ford government is doing!

    • Mary Lou Jorgensen-Bacher says:

      the bridges proposed for early exemption are the most environmentally harmful parts of the scheme.

    • Jesse says:

      This is misleading Laura. The page you linked specifically sets out that all but condition 4 of the 2002 approval must still be me. Condition 4 of the approval is “The Proponent during the design and construction of the undertaking shall / I comply with the MTO’s Class EA for Group A Projects all of the provisions which shall apply to the design and construction of the undertaking.”
      Which is what the exemption is specifically for – to skip the TESR. DCR’s will still be prepared as they contain the design drawings that are used in the bid and tender process.
      Having worked on several TESR’s as a utility relocation engineer in the past, they are copy and paste make-work papers. They are less of “here’s what we’re going to do” and more of “here’s what we’ve done so far”.

      “commitments from the environmental assessment related to further work such as consultation requirements with agencies, avoidance principles through sensitive areas, and other similar work.”
      ^ this is what those 15 studies are for.

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