Some further questions and clarity has arisen (due to my potential motion being tabled on Monday. Look at previous blog post to see that issue with link to agenda.) where I have been asked about timing, scoping, setting the right “problem statement” for a potential EA and other feedback and engagement issues on this item. Important (in my opinion) is the feedback from the Provincial Government Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks where they suggest the EA should continue as is. I wanted to make sure that was stated publicly here for anyone to see, so here it is:
The EA process requires identification of alternative solutions to the problem statement, and notes that “all reasonable and feasible solutions shall be identified and described”. In staff’s opinion, a grade separation is an alternative solution that should be considered and evaluated in the future EA.
I’d add that I was able to discuss the concept of the proposed council motion with the MECP. The MECP reiterated what staff have told council, including that this is a proponent-driven process but that all reasonable and feasible alternatives should be considered and it is best not to pre-suppose or pre-empt outcomes in advance, but to instead let the process play out as it is designed.
I would also like to clarify that Metrolinx does not have a say in the approval of the future EA. Metrolinx is engaged as a stakeholder in the study, and staff are sharing the findings with Metrolinx to help inform any future conversations that may occur related to the crossings.
In terms of assumptions in the model and the data used, City staff are reviewing this feedback as it was also generally brought up by residents at this week’s virtual open houses. Staff are working with the consulting team to consider if any adjustment or clarifications are required before the study report is finalized.