Province wants full Environmental Assessment for City of Peterborough Parkway Corridor project

Peterborough, ON, Canada / (CHEXTV)
Province wants full Environmental Assessment for City of Peterborough Parkway Corridor project

The Parkway: it’s once again making headlines in Peterborough.  As we told you on  Friday, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is asking for a  full environmental assessment before the project can move forward. As Steve Guthrie reports, the decision has once again highlighted an emotional debate in our city.

Mayor Daryl Bennett says the provinces decision to require a full environmental assessment of the Parkway Corridor could cripple the city’s plans for growth and job creation.  He says the Parkway would provide necessary access to new residential subdivisions but  approval of those subdivisions is on hold until the new EA is completed which Bennett says could take two years.

Daryl Bennett, Mayor, City of Peterborough

‘Every house in the community has the potential for 12 to 15 hundred man hours and we have 88 building lots sitting available for the general building population to deal with. Normally would would do approval of 300 lots a year. We don’t have that in our stock right now.”

The MOECC report lists a number of reasons the city’s original Environmental Assessment was deficient in a number of areas.  One was the plans for a bridge over Jackson park which the report says was opposed by a number of residents.  MPP Jeff Leal says that bridge has always been a

major stumbling block in completing the Parkway

MPP Jeff Leal

“I know on my time on council, from 1985 to 2003, it was always felt the bridge should always been eliminated from the Parkway Plan, knowing full well, it was a contentious issue,then to look at other aspects to build out the parkway.”

Daryl Bennett, Mayor, City of Peterborough

“We still have, in our estimation, a workable plan in front of us, there are some folks who are suggesting just remove the bridge from the plan, and plan around it, that means tearing down 27 homes, affordable homes, on Fairbairn, and reworking the design of that street, the Parkhill Bridge and the rest of Parkhill between Medical Drive and Fairbairn,  that’s a big, big undertaking, and that too does not meet the needs of the future.”

While they applaud the decision by the ministry to insist on a full EA of the parkway corridor project,, the Peterborough Greenspace Coalition suggests the city investigate what could attract new millenials to move here and whether building a bridge over Jackson park is the way to do that.

Cameron Douglas, Peterborough Greenspace Coalition

“They love the green-ness of Peterborough, the green space, they love the vibrant downtown, and the the millenial generation who bring those beautiful professional  jobs with them when they choose their city, they’re looking for transportation options, they want to be able to take the bus, they want to be able to cycle, and for that I think our development focus needs to be looking at what kind of development works at that level”

Mayor  Bennett says development staff will be asked prepare suggestions on how the city can work within the structure imposed by the province by the need to complete a full environmental assessment of the parkway corridor.

Steve Guthrie CHEX Newswatch Peterborough

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