Based on the findings of the Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Study, a Recommended Plan has been identified that addresses the current and future transportation needs at the existing crossing. The Recommended Plan includes the replacement of the Little Current Swing Bridge with a new, through-truss swing bridge situated on a new alignment located approximately 80m west of the existing bridge. The new bridge will consist of two vehicular travel lanes (i.e., one lane in each direction), and a 1.5 m wide sidewalk, on the west side, for pedestrians/cyclists. A plan to appropriately commemorate the existing bridge will also be confirmed following this Class EA Study.
A summary of the study process, including the identification and evaluation of alternatives, the Recommended Plan, anticipated environmental impacts, proposed mitigation measures and consultation activities carried out as part of this study, has been documented within a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR). A copy of the TESR is available for public review between January 25 and February 24, 2023.
Interested persons may provide written comments to the study team by February 24, 2023.
In addition, a request may be made to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for an order requiring a higher level of study (i.e., requiring an individual/comprehensive EA approval before being able to proceed), or that conditions be imposed (e.g., require further studies), only on the grounds that the requested order may prevent, mitigate, or remedy adverse impacts on constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights (i.e., Section 16 Order). Additional information regarding Section 16 Order requests is provided within the Notice of Study Completion.
The existing Highway 6 Little Current Swing Bridge is the oldest and longest known example of a swing bridge within the province and has been identified by MTO as a Provincial Heritage Property of Provincial Significance (PHPPS) under section 25.2 of the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA). MTO must comply with the 2010 Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties, (Standards and Guidelines) pursuant to Part III.1, section 25.2, of the OHA. MTO must also adhere to the MTO’s Ontario Heritage Bridge Guidelines (Interim 2008) (OHBG).
MTO’s OHBG sets out eight conservation options that must be considered for its bridges. Under the Standards and Guidelines, removal or demolition of all or part of a provincial heritage property should be considered as a last resort, having considered all other alternatives, subject to Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and community engagement. The Standards and Guidelines also requires the consent of the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries be obtained prior to the demolition or removal of any building or structure located on a PHPPS.
The Recommended Plan for this Class Environmental Assessment (EA) study includes the removal of the existing Highway 6 Little Current Swing Bridge, following construction of the new bridge. In accordance with provincial requirements MTO has prepared a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), a study that documents how the conservation options were considered, identifies the impacts associated with the removal of the bridge, and recommends options and mitigation measures to reduce negative impacts and conserve cultural heritage value or interest. The HIA will also support MTO’s Request for the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries’ consent and will guide next steps and the future of the existing bridge
At this time, MTO is requesting your input regarding the findings and recommendations documented in the HIA. An electronic copy of the HIA report is available for review upon request for a 30-day review period until February 7, 2022. Should you wish to review the HIA report, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned via email at [email protected]. It would be greatly appreciated if you could kindly provide any comments and/or feedback you may have to the undersigned by Monday, February 7, 2022.
Online Public Information Centre 3 is available for your review and comment. Please click the following image to view the presentation, or select the Documentation tab above to view the presentation and access additional online Public Information Centre 3 materials.
A Notice of Online Public Information Centre 3 has been posted in local newspapers and distributed to property owners in the study area, Provincial and Federal Government Agencies, Municipalities, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders.
To date, two Public Information Centres (PICs) have been held as part of this study. The second PIC was held on July 17, 2019, and provided stakeholders, Indigenous communities, and the public with an opportunity to review the assessment of Alternatives to the Undertaking, the preliminary design alternatives, the proposed evaluation criteria and evaluation process, and to address questions or concerns directly with representatives of the project team. Following the second PIC, the project team has been reviewing input from stakeholders, Indigenous communities, and the public, and is in the process of evaluating alternative design concepts.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the third and final PIC has been delayed; however, it is anticipated that a preliminary preferred plan will be presented publicly in winter 2021. The project team has been and will continue to evaluate the feasibility of in-person presentations for the third PIC; however, the team may seek to present the materials online depending on physical distancing requirements at that time. Additional information regarding the third PIC will be provided on the project website as it becomes available.
The Boat Survey is now closed and all data collected will be reviewed and incorporated into the design and evaluation of alternatives. (A Boat Survey was created to collect information from boat owners/operators or users in the Town of Little Current and on Manitoulin Island in order to understand boat and marine travel patterns in the North Channel.)
A business owner survey has been created to collect business/economic information from businesses in the Town of Little Current and on Manitoulin Island in order to understand potential impacts of corridor alternatives on local businesses. If you are a business-owner and would like to participate in the survey, please fill out a survey - Business Owner Survey. Hard copies of the survey will also be provided at PIC 2.
A Notice of Public Information Centre 2 (PDF) has been posted in local newspapers and distributed to property owners in the study area, Provincial and Federal Government Agencies, Municipalities, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders.
The Study Design Report (SDR) is now available for a 30-day public review.
A Notice of Study Design Report Review (PDF) has been posted in local newspapers and distributed to property owners in the study area, Provincial and Federal Government Agencies, Municipalities, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders.
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