Update on the development of mitigation measures
In 2019–2020, consultations with the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement identified 138 mitigation measures that were integrated into the project. Transport Canada added 10 new measures to comply with the Species at Risk Act and following the Indigenous consultation process, namely with respect to archaeology.
The geotechnical drilling carried out in 2021 and 2022 enabled the preparation of a hydrogeological report, which is the focus of the current public consultation. Additionally, the report enabled an update to the environmental assessment report, which identifies the project's potential impacts to the environment, specifically on drinking water wells and wetlands.
Over the past few months Transport Canada, in collaboration with Canadian Pacific, the city of Lac-Mégantic and the municipalities of Nantes and Frontenac, and through consultations with hydrogeological experts, has studied these reports and developed new mitigation measures.
These new mitigation measures will be presented during public consultation sessions from November 7 to 9, 2022. The public will be able to submit written opinions and comments on these measures until November 25, 2022.
Here is the list of the new mitigation measures that were identified for wetlands. Note that the list of all measures identified to date is located in the discussion guide, which can be found on the following webpage: www.canada.ca/consultation-lac-megantic-bypass.
Wetland mitigation measures
- Targeted ecological surveys will be conducted to identify wetland areas at risk and those of significant ecological importance. The results will help determine which zones must be prioritized for protection during construction and where follow-ups will be made.
- Variations in the water table level near wetlands must be monitored until the water table naturally stabilizes.
- If the drawdown of the water table affects drainage of wetlands located outside of the right-of-way, the possibility of building infrastructure must be considered to prevent complete drainage of the wetland.
- All deforested areas outside of the railway right-of-way, and those in wetland areas that will be temporarily affected by the work must be restored to recreate the original cover as soon as possible once construction work ends. Native shrubs and tree species must be used for seeding and planting in the restoration work.
- Financial compensation of around $5 million is already planned for the destruction of wetlands located in the railway right-of-way. This compensation will be provided to the Fonds de protection de l'environnement et du domaine hydrique de l'État, which is managed by the government of Quebec. Additionally, if the loss of wetlands outside of the railway right-of-way is unavoidable, then an additional payment will be made relative to the area affected.