A number of citizens and some city councillors have expressed concern that the Minnow Lake Community Action Network and Restoration Group have delayed road reconstruction work on Second Avenue.
It is important to note this delay would not have taken place had there been adherence to recognized guidelines of the provincial Environmental Assessment Act with respect to the magnitude of the project and the possible environmental consequences which the act defines as any factors related to “air, land and water,” and “the social, economic and cultural conditions that influence the life of humans or a community.”
The fact the project involved the significant widening of the roadway from two to five lanes, and the implementation of a signalled intersection would, according to the act, indicate a level of assessment (Schedule C) that would require a more intensive evaluation, including the presentation of alternatives and mitigation of environmental concerns.
Responding to this directive, the Minnow Lake CAN and Restoration Group, with the support of the Greater Sudbury Watershed Alliance, expressed concern, in particular with regards to the increased untreated surface water runoff from the additional road area and covered drainage ditches that would flow into Lake Ramsey, which is already stressed.
Other concerns expressed were related to air quality and resultant health issues with the closer proximity of the widened roadway to residential, park and commercial areas and the new signalled intersection.
There is no intent to stop the project, as the value of improving the roadway and intersections involved is recognized. However, it is felt a more detailed assessment and evaluation is required, with options presented for public consideration, and resulting in a suitable, but not necessarily more expensive, plan. More information can be obtained at minnowlake.ca.
Chair, Minnow Lake Community Action Network