Allen Valk, Chairperson of Friends of Sam Smith Park, today received the following response from John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment, responding to FOSS's support for CCFEW's request for an Environmental Assessment of the Skating Trail project. CCFEW's request is denied. A City arborist's report is pending.
Thank you for your letter of September 30, 2008 which supports the request made by the Citizens Concerned about the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront (CCFEW) for a project specific regulation designating the proposed outdoor skating track in the City of Toronto (City) as an undertaking to which the Environmental Assessment Act applies.
The Ministry of the Environment has completed its review of the request made by CCFEW and has determined that the proposed outdoor ice skating track does not warrant the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA).
This decision has been made on the basis that the City's proposal is consistent with the City's Official Plan policies, the strategies of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and that the proposal does not violate any existing EA approvals.
As you may be aware, the proposed skating track has been the subject of a number of design and planning exercises that have included numerous opportunities for interested persons and organizations to make their concerns known. The City has advised that further opportunities will be provided for area residents and organizations to participate in the detailed design process and programming of the facility. I am satisfied that the City has provided the opportunity for residents and organizations to make their concerns with the proposed outdoor skating track known and that additional opportunities will be available to participate in the detailed design of the skating track.
With regard to the potential environmental impact of this proposal, the City has confirmed that an arborist's analysis will be completed in the near future, and together with a report, will be brought forward for the consideration of Etobicoke York Community Council. Working with the TRCA, City staff will identify methods to mitigate the impact of the proposal on the existing vegetation and wildlife. I am satisfied that the City will conduct an appropriate assessment of the potential environmental effects on the skating track proposal.
As a result of the foregoing, concerns regarding the use and development of the site are best addressed at the municipal level, and I would encourage your continued participation with City staff as they proceed to the detailed design stage for the outdoor skating track. Additional opportunities will be provided by the City for questions to be asked and for the City to respond to any concerns raised. A regulation designating the City's proposal as an undertaking to which the requirements of the EAA applies is, therefore, not necessary. Should you require further assistance, please contact Mr. D. Jeffrey Dea, Project Officer with the ministry's Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch, at 416-314-7213 or bye-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.