Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (â€œWaterkeeperâ€) is a nonprofit organization working to win back our rights to safely swim, drink and fish in this Great Lake. Since 2001, Waterkeeper has worked with various stakeholders in the Oshawa Harbour area to identify and resolve contamination and planning issues that jeopardize the local environment, public access to the waterfront, and citizens' access to decision-making.
Waterkeeper submits that CN Rail and its consultants have failed to establish that the Oshawa Harbour Rail Spur Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. The Canadian Transportation Agency should determine that the project will not proceed.
In the alternative, Waterkeeper asks that the Canadian Transportation Agency refer the project to the Minister of the Environment for referral to a review panel on the basis of (a) significant adverse environmental effects; and, (b) public concern.
Detailed descriptions of the significant adverse environmental effects and demonstrations of public concern are outlined below. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper also agrees with the comments and concerns submitted by the Oshawa Marina Users Committee and the City of Oshawa.
Since 2001, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has worked with many stakeholders in the Oshawa Harbour area. We first became active about the area after learning that an old landfill site is leaking into the harbour. We supported marina users who were stripped of access to the harbour three years ago. We discussed remediation options for the harbour and supported the City of Oshawa's vision for a clean, green and people-friendly waterfront with a healthy mixture of uses and employment opportunities. Our support for these groups and their commitment to waterfront revitalization continues to this day.
On Friday, April 7, 2006, the Canadian National Railway Company published an announcement in the Toronto Star, informing the general public that CN was filing an application with the Canadian Transportation Agency for approval to construct a railway spur line to the Oshawa Harbour. Within a matter of days, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper received a number of phone calls and emails from individuals and organizations concerned about the project, the lack of forewarning, and the brief comment period. Waterkeeper immediately sent a letter to Mr. J.D. Patenaude at the Canadian National Railway Company, informing him that Waterkeeper would be reviewing the documents and drafting a formal submission by the end of the public comment period.
On May 8, 2006, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper submitted a comment to the Canadian Transportation Agency asking the Agency to reject CN's application or launch a fair, more meaningful environmental assessment process. A number of other individuals, non-governmental organizations, and the City of Oshawa also submitted concerns about the project.
On June 27, 2006, CN wrote to the Canadian Transportation Agency and argued that â€œnone of the interventions filed opposing CN's application â€¦ have raised any matters â€¦ that the location of the railway line is not reasonable.â€ Lake Ontario Waterkeeper sent a reply submission to the Agency on July 27, 2006. In this submission, Waterkeeper attempted to clarify the importance and the purpose of the environmental assessment process and again asked the Agency to deny CN's application.
On August 3, 2006, CN wrote to the Canadian Transportation Agency and argued that Waterkeeper's submission of July 27, 2006 was â€œout of order and should not be allowed on the record.â€ Waterkeeper immediately wrote to the Agency, clarifying our right to comment throughout the environmental assessment process.
On October 2, 2006, the Canadian Transportation Agency provided a scoping document to CN Rail and instructed the proponent to, â€œfinalize its environmental assessment and to prepare a draft environmental screening report in accordance with the scoping document.â€
On October 2, 2006, the Canadian Transportation Agency also announced public participation for the environmental screening of the proposed expansion of the Farewell Spur Project in Oshawa, Ontario. The Agency stated that parties would have 30 days to comment on CN's final documentation. The following comments are based on those documents, released May 25, 2007.