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Waterloo Region - Impact Assessment Results

The TPAP includes extensive studies to identify the potential environmental impacts associated with potential new infrastructure, including the construction and operation of proposed electrified service. We have started these impact studies and want to provide you an update on the status for your community.

Potential effects on terrestrial features, wildlife/wildlife habitat, species at risk, watercourses, aquatic habitat were assessed.

a) Vegetation

Permanent removal of 6.5 hectares of vegetation communities will be required.

  1. Existing vegetation will be retained to the extent practical. Removals will be kept to a minimum to limit direct effects to vegetation communities and vascular flora, as well as indirect effects (e.g., soil compaction and changes to topography and drainage).
Wildlife

There is potential risk of birds colliding with the OCS infrastructure, particularly near the Breslau Provincially Significant Wetland.

  1. OCS infrastructure will be placed within the existing rail corridor, thereby reducing impacts to migratory birds.
  2. During breeding season, if bridge/rail overpass modifications are proposed to take place, checks for protected birds (as per the Migratory Birds Convention Act) or Barn Swallow nests will take place prior to start of construction.
Waterbodies

Potential impacts to wetlands and waterbodies resulting from erosion and sedimentation from construction.

  1. Construction activities will maintain buffers established during the design phase to minimize potential impacts.

Potential effects on land use and socio-economic features due to the construction and implementation / long-term operation of the physical project components were assessed.

a) Construction

Nuisance (noise/vibration and visual) effects for adjacent sensitive receptors (i.e., religious institutions, schools, child care centres, etc.), residential areas, parks and trails.

  • Potential noise and visual effects are anticipated to be temporary in nature and will be minimized based on the implementation of mitigation measures.
  • We have a dedicated Community Relations team available at any time to answer questions and notify residents/businesses/property owners of construction works, including night work.

Potential effects on existing view sheds caused by the proposed new infrastructure (OCS, TPFs, bridge modifications) were assessed.

a) Areas of Potential Moderate Visual Impact:

Areas of potential moderate visual impact can include residential areas where homes are more than right eight metres from the tracks and areas where existing vegetation provides a screen from the infrastructure.

  1. At the Grand River crossing where the addition of OCS infrastructure may alter the view.
  2. At Cherry Park in Kitchener, where the existing vegetation along the property boundary is sparse with open views.
  3. At the Kitchener GO Station where views of the historical building are generally open.

Mitigations

  • At the Grand River crossing, OCS infrastructure screening will be considered, such as plantings to blend into the existing scenic and natural views.
  • Dense native plantings may be utilized to act as a screen between the rail corridor and public parks.
  • Where pedestrians may have close-up views of OCS infrastructure, such as at the Kitchener GO Station, painting of OCS structures to minimize their visual impact will be considered.
All overhead and pedestrian bridges will require bridge barriers for safety, which may affect views.
  1. Barrier designs that maintain views;
  2. As part of detailed design, Metrolinx’s Design Review Panel will be engaged to review possible design; treatments/options for enhancing the aesthetics of bridge barriers where feasible/required.

EMFs are invisible forces that surround electrical equipment, power cords and power lines. You cannot see or feel EMFs.

On a daily basis, we are exposed to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) generated by household wiring, lighting, and electrical appliances.
Every time you use electricity and electrical appliances, you are exposed to EMFs at extremely low frequencies.
EMFs are strongest when closest to the source. As you move away from the source, the strength of the fields fades rapidly.

Mitigations

  1. Further testing and verification will be carried out during the detailed design phase once the rolling stock is established.
  2. Confirm background EMF/EMI measurements during detailed design.
  3. Implement an Electromagnetic Compatibility (EM Control Plan.
  4. Identify, and implement, grounding and shielding measures.

A comprehensive summary of Cultural Heritage Resources (CHRs) within the study area was established; potential effects on CHRs, mitigation measures and/or recommendations for further study were assessed.

Kitchener VIA Rail Station (Kitchener GO Station), recognized by the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act

Mitigations

  1. Undertake a Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report (CHER) for the Kitchener VIA Rail Station (Kitchener GO Station) and undertake a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), as needed.

A Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment (AA) was completed that assessed the study area for potential archaeological resources. The Stage 1 AA study included a history of Indigenous and Euro-Canadian land use, known and previously registered archaeological sites, and previous archaeological assessments.

In the Waterloo Region study area, the rail corridor does not retain archaeological potential.

Mitigations

  1. Should previously undocumented archaeological resources be discovered, they may be a new archaeological site and therefore subject to Section 48 (1) of the Ontario Heritage Act. The person discovering the archaeological resources must cease alteration of the site immediately and engage a licensed consultant archaeologist to carry out archaeological fieldwork.

Properties within the Study Area were assessed for the potential presence of soil and/or groundwater contamination.

Construction could expose contaminated materials and/or result in the spreading of contaminated materials.
Construction could expose groundwater and associated contamination.
Exposure to contaminated materials/groundwater can put below grade construction workers health and safety at risk.

Mitigations

  1. Conduct Phase II Environmental Site Assessment for soil and groundwater contamination where excavations are planned, during detailed design.
  2. Develop a Soil and Excavated Materials Management Plan (during detailed design) for the handling, management, and disposal of all excavated material that is generated or encountered during the works.
  3. Develop a Groundwater Management Plan (during detailed design) to guide the handling, management, and disposal of groundwater encountered during the works.

An assessment of the potential effects of the proposed infrastructure on water supply wells, groundwater dependent ecological features, etc. was completed.

Construction:

The proposed infrastructure is expected to change groundwater flow and impact recharge capabilities along the segment. General construction activities have the potential to affect groundwater and/or surface water quality through minor contaminant releases.

Operations and Maintenance:

Reduction in groundwater infiltration due to construction of impervious surfaces, soil compaction, use of finer grained materials.

Mitigations

  1. Prepare a Groundwater Management Plan that will evaluate potential groundwater discharge options prior to construction.
  2. Prepare and implement a Spill Prevention and Response Plan prior to construction.
  3. Negligible change to groundwater infiltration is anticipated due to the limited area that is to be covered by the proposed project components and the permeable materials typically utilized.

A preliminary assessment of drainage patterns, drainage features, potential outfall, footprint areas for future building and equipment areas, and runoff was undertaken as part of the TPAP.

The proposed works may result in increases to impervious areas, with potential effects to water quantity and quality.
There may be alterations to the local drainage system, both overland (major drainage system) and storm sewers (minor drainage system).
The proposed construction activities pose a potential impact due to sediment transport into adjacent natural areas.

Mitigations

  1. Prepare a Drainage and Stormwater Report and an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan during detailed design.
  2. Assess the receiving capacity of the minor and major drainage systems during detailed design.
  3. Assess stormwater quality measures to provide a minimum 80% Total Suspended Solids (TSS) removal as per provincial guidelines.

We are conducting a noise and vibration impact assessment that will look at:

a qualitative assessment of the noise effects resulting from the change in diesel to electric propulsion along the Guelph Subdivision
an assessment of construction noise impacts, including mobile and stationary noise and vibration sources and recommended mitigation measures to be implemented and followed during the construction phase.

Mitigations

  1. With respect to mitigation, Metrolinx follows the 1995 MOEE/GO Transit Draft Protocol for Noise and Vibration Assessment and implements mitigation accordingly.
  2. When possible, construction will be limited to the time periods allowed by the locally applicable bylaws.
  3. All equipment will be properly maintained to limit noise emissions.

An air quality impact assessment is also underway, the scope will assess:

local air quality impacts associated with future operations of the electrified GO Rail Network
regional air quality impacts associated with future operations of the electrified Guelph Subdivision
local air quality impacts associated with construction activities

Mitigations

  1. The results of this air quality study, as well as mitigation recommendations, will be made available as part of future consultation.

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