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Media Release | Alberta

Media Release: YYC Cares issues a response to Alberta's Minister of Environment and Parks Order

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Alberta

YYC Cares thanks Minister Shannon Phillips for confirming to all Albertans that the Government did not comply with its own legislation and that the 2013 Alberta Wetland Policy was clearly the applicable policy for the Southwest Calgary Ring Road wetlands Water Act application.

WireService.ca Media Release (02/02/2018) Calgary, AB - Members of YYC Cares, a pro-ring road citizens group who support environmentally friendly and sustainable development, were advised on January 29th 2018 that that they had won their case against the Director, Alberta Environment and Parks and KGL Constructors. As a consequence, KGL is no longer permitted to disturb wetland W06 (the "Beaver Pond" in the protected Weaselhead Natural Environment Park) and no further disturbance of the up-slope feeder wetlands W07 and W08 is permitted without the written direction of the Director. Further KGL has until June 30, 2018 to complete all of the work that was missing from its application, including full compliance with the 2013 Alberta Wetland Policy. Through this process its hoped that further avoidance measures can be identified.

In a letter to Minister Phillips, YYC Cares thanks the Minister for confirming to all Albertans that the Government did not comply with its own legislation and that the 2013 Alberta Wetland Policy was clearly the applicable policy for this Water Act application. YYC Cares also thanked Minister Phillips and Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason for confirming to all Albertans that the Southwest Calgary Ring Road ("SWCRR") is being significantly overbuilt.

However, in their letter to the Minister, YYC Cares disagrees with the variance Order because a variance is only possible if the requisite work under the 2013 Alberta Wetland Policy had been completed. As the members of YYC Cares proved, not only did the Director apply the wrong policy (1993 as opposed to 2013) but KGL failed to include the following required documentation: hydrological assessment, hydro-geological assessment, stormwater management plan, source water management impacts assessment, regional and cumulative impacts assessment, flood mitigation assessment, etc..

More importantly the application did not include any options to AVOID or MINIMIZE the impacts to the wetlands, which is a clear violation of the 2013 policy's three stage mitigation hierarchy of avoid, minimize and relocate. The goal of the 2013 wetland policy is to conserve, restore, protect, and manage Alberta's wetlands to sustain the benefits they provide to the environment, society, and the economy. However, in this case KGL went straight to compensate, which is a violation of the Legislation. Therefore without the requisite work (required for an approval) a variance is not possible. YYC Cares maintains that the correct and proper decision was a full reversal. YYC Cares also believes that the Court would support our interpretation of a variance.

With respect to the overbuild, YYC Cares respectfully disagrees with the Minister's assessment that a re-design would cause a delay to the project completion schedule. They also note that the Government had at a minimum over a year to evaluate and re-design this road prior to the signing of the SWCRR contract in September 2016, and have requested that the Government do the right thing and admit this error.

YYC Cares has also made recommendations to ensure that the ring road is built to the highest environmental standard but also in the most cost-effective manner possible. For additional details visit http://www.yyccares.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Minister-Phillips_Feb-2-2018.pdf

Contact YYCCares

www.yyccares.ca

 


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