Environmental effects of the Bradford Bypass construction on fish and fish habitat

Petition: 466

Issue(s): Biological diversity; Environmental assessment; Fisheries; Human/environmental health; Water

Petitioner(s): A Canadian resident

Petitioner location(s): Cobourg, Ontario

Date received: 28 February 2022

Status: Completed - Response(s) to petition received

Summary: This petition raises concerns about the Bradford Bypass, a proposed bypass connecting Highway 400 and Highway 404 in the County of Simcoe, Ontario. The petition asserts that this bypass will compromise fish and fish habitat in several nearby waterways, including creeks, ponds, tributaries, rivers, and watercourses. The petition asks what actions will be taken by responsible departments to ensure that species are protected under the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act. Furthermore, it questions whether responsible departments will evaluate how nearby waterways will be affected by the bypass and the associated contamination with chloride and phosphorus. According to the petition, the waterways that the proposed project would traverse are agriculturally rich and include the presence of numerous fish and other species, including a species of eel that is listed as endangered under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007. Additionally, the petition states that the proposed project overlaps several areas that were identified as containing migratory pathways and ecosystem benefits.

The petition is concerned that the proposed bypass will contribute to increased concentrations of chloride and phosphorus, mostly because of road salting, which could potentially harm aquatic life. The petition alleges that salt runoff from roadways and highways are already exceeding safe levels and asks that any potential permits for the project be refused. Furthermore, the petition questions whether Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued or denied authorizations and permits for nearby watersheds, particularly in relation to Highway 404.

The petition outlines that the Fish and Fish Habitat Existing Conditions report issued by AECOM Canada Ltd., which is retained by the Ontario government, is insufficient because it does not include several watercourses that overlap the project area and lacks field studies. The petition claims that the majority of the report’s content is outdated, as the latest full environmental assessment is from 1997. The petition asks that responsible departments require up-to-date and complete assessments.

Federal departments/organizations responsible for reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada; Fisheries and Oceans Canada