Thursday, October 2, 2008

PROCESS FOR DESIGNATING SKATING TRAIL UNDER THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ACT

Tamara Shepard in yesterday's Etobicoke Guardian outlined the process that might be taken by the Ministry of the Environment should they proceed with CCFEW's request that the skating trail be subject to the Environmental Assessment Act. It could take three to nine months to fully review the proposed project.


The review of a local waterfront watchdog group's "designation request" to determine whether a planned south Etobicoke ice skating trail is subject to the Environmental Assessment Act will take at least three months, say ministry officials.

Citizens Concerned About the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront (CCFEW) has requested Environment Minister John Gerretsen pass a project-specific regulation designating the proposed $2-million artificial ice skating trail in the naturalized waterfront Colonel Sam Smith Park as one to which the Act applies.

The review of CCFEW's recent request could take between three to nine months.

"We'll assign a project officer to it, conduct a review, consult with the proponent of the project (the city) and any other government agencies that might have an interest. Based on that review, we'll determine whether to take it further, and make recommendations to the minister," said Ariane Heisey, a supervisor with the environmental assessment and approvals branch of the Ministry of the Environment.

In its application, CCFEW states the site of the proposed ice skating track is a woodlot designated for "landscape regeneration" in the park's Master Plan.

"It's the wrong project for that location," CCFEW president Brian Bailey said in an interview last week.

Should Gerretsen decide CCFEW's designation request be considered further, a "proposal for designation" will be made and posted online on an environmental registry for 30 days for public comment.

"That's a good indication, but not for certain, that we'll be designating it and making a regulation to do so," Heisey said.

Following the comment period, the project officer will then recommend to Gerretsen whether the project should be made subject to the Environmental Assessment Act.

Should Gerretsen agree the Act should apply, it must then be approved by the Ontario government's cabinet, as well as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley.

Two years ago, the group requested the same ministry regulation over the contentious, now defunct, city proposal to build a skateboard park in Colonel Sam Smith Park's meadow.

City plans to build the skateboard park died that September after local councillor Mark Grimes got strong advice from Ward 38 Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker to put the controversial park elsewhere.

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