Environmental Assessment Update for Espanola Light Industrial Park in Espanola Ontario Canada

The following is an update on the Environmental Assessment (EA) report for the Espanola Light Industrial Park in Ontario Canada.  It is a very detailed description of some of the efforts to identify Species at Risk (SAR) and fish habitat, etc.
By Dawn LalondePosted 3 months ago

In 2001, the Town of Espanola began preliminary work on establishing an industrial park to provide needed serviced lots due to limited land availability for industrial development.

In 2004, the town retained J.L. Richards and Associates Limited (JLR) to complete a Class Environmental Assessment (EA) to study the intended development of the industrial park to be located on Panache Lake Road, east of the Queensway Boulevard and the removed railway crossing. The study evaluated options and recommended a solution to service and provide access to the light industrial park (LIP). The project was completed in 2007.

The town now wishes to expand the existing industrial park to include 15 additional acres and to provide a separate access road to the industrial park. The 2004 EA had suggested, should the LIP expand beyond the original five lots, the preferred access alternative may be to construct a new access road and the road right-of-way to be included in the next Official Plan.

In July 2011, FedNor announced a government of Canada investment to assist with the town’s LIP expansion. It is now the town’s intent to proceed with the industrial park expansion by identifying the lands scheduled for development, by extending the existing municipal services in Panache Lake Road, and by constructing a new access road to increase accessibility to the LIP lands and mitigate additional traffic volumes.

An amendment report is being undertaken to address the additional requirements and changes in the project since the completion of the report in 2004. These requirements specifically include; a review of the natural Environment Inventory and Impact Assessment, including a species risk investigation. Additional consultation is due to the lapse in time since the original study and reviewing the Official Plan to designate a new road allowance.

The report is provided to amend the previous LIP EA report completed in 2004. It is not the intent of the report to further evaluate development servicing options, yet to build on the work and recommendations provided in original study, as well as to provide for additional review and consultation regarding the overall proposed development.

A description of existing environmental features of the study as observed at the time of the field investigation. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC) and the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (OBBA) were contracted to obtain background information on the existing natural features in and surrounding the study area.

A species at risk (SAR) screening study was previously conducted to supplement a Class EA document, originally prepared in 2004 to support the expansion of the existing light LIP. This screening study identified 20 species at risk, which may potentially utilize portions of the study area. According to habitat suitability investigators, several SAR were identified as having potential for inhabiting the study area. Of the 20 species identified in the initial screening, suitable habitat was identified for 5 of those species, the Canada warbler, least bittern, whip-poor-will, Blanding’s turtle, and snapping turtle. General mitigation should be followed in order to prevent impacts to these listed species, if identified prior to construction activities.

Additional field investigations are required during the appropriate season to identify any SAR which may inhabit the area and would include targeted surveys for the 5 species listed above. Targeted surveys can be completed as early as spring 2012. Specific surveys should be completed for the whip-poor-will following the MNR’s draft Whip-poor-will Survey Protocol (2011a), provided development is scheduled to occur and no further mitigation would be required if targeted surveys did not reveal the presence of whip-poor-will. If targeted surveys revealed the presence of whip-poor-will within the property boundary however, an ESA permit would be need to be applied for and obtained in order for development to occur in this direct area.

Fish habitat was identified in Darkie Creek, as well as a small channel and ditching system near an existing ATV trail which runs from McCulloch drive, north to Panache Lake Road. Any construction in this area should follow mitigation measures and require authorization under the Fisheries Act.

It is expected this project will likely result in both short term and long term impacts, however if the measures outlined in the report are incorporated into the contract documents and followed prior and during the construction phase, impacts should be minimal.

Due to the location of the lands available for the access road detailed consultation and design review will be required to ensure the cost effectiveness and long term serviceability of the road. It is also to ensure proper mitigation measures are in place to minimize short term and long-term disturbances on the natural environment.

The Draft Amendment Report is now being finalized and will be available at the town office. This should allow adequate time to take public and review agency information and comments into consideration.

Read full article in Mid-North Monitor


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