City of Vaughan
City of Vaughan
Class Environmental Assessment
A Class Environmental Assessment (EA) is a planning process prepared by the Municipal Engineers Association (MEA) of Ontario for a class or group of municipal infrastructure undertakings, including roads, water and wastewater projects. The process is approved by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) and through almost three decades it has been proven to be an effective way of complying with requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (1990, as amended).
Applying the Class EA approach to planning and implementation of municipal infrastructure projects allows achieving considerable public, economic and environmental benefits.
The key elements of the Class EA process are incorporated in the following five consecutive phases:
Since infrastructure projects can vary in their complexity and magnitude of environmental effects, they are classified by the Class EA in terms of schedules. Depending on the EA Schedule, a project may not require to go through all phases of the EA process prior to implementation. For example, Schedule “A” and “A+” projects are limited in scale, have minimal adverse effects, are pre-approved and may proceed to implementation. However, Schedule “C” projects such as construction of new facilities or major expansion of existing facilities that have the potential for significant environmental effects must proceed under the full Class EA procedures.
The Class EA is a self assessment process. In all situations where the approach is applicable to a project, it is the responsibility of a proponent to ensure that the process is carried out as set out in the Class EA document prepared by MEA. As stipulated in the EA Act, proponent means a person who proposes or carries out an undertaking or is the owner or person having charge, management or control of an undertaking.
Proponents, such as municipalities acting in their own behalf or on behalf of private sector developers or private sector developers acting on their own behalf, undertake development of municipal infrastructure. Regardless of the manner in which facilities are funded, any works designated as an undertaking to which Ontario EA Act applies must follow the Class EA process, subject to specific exemptions. Provided the approved Class EA planning process was followed, a proponent has complied with the EA Act.
As noted, certain infrastructure works can have significant impacts on the environment and such projects shall be planned under Schedule “C” of the Class EA. Therefore, it is appropriate that those projects should be subject to review prior to implementation, regardless of who (municipality or private developer) undertakes the planning, construction or who is ultimately responsible for control and maintenance of the works.
Accordingly, private sectors developers proposing projects listed in Schedule “C” of the Class EA document that are servicing residential developments must complete the Schedule “C” Class EA process. In addition, the Class EA document provides means for integrating the requirements of the EA Act and the Planning Act, where a proponent wishes to do so. By coordinating infrastructure planning under the Class EA process and land use planning application under the Planning Act, proponents can meet requirements of both processes in the most expeditious manner.
The City of Vaughan (CoV) Transportation Master Plan (TMP) – A New Path (2013), companion to the CoV Official Plan (2010), identified projects that will improve connections to local and regional infrastructure, provide access to future developments, support transit-oriented nodes and corridors, and enhance transit ridership, cycling and walking.
In 2016, York Region TMP has also identified the need for Kirby Road extension between Dufferin and Bathurst Streets and confirmed the requirement to construct the 4-lane missing link.
The CoV determined the sequence of improvements for the Kirby Road corridor and has authorized Rizmi Holdings Limited (RHL), a private sector developer to act as a sole Study Proponent and undertake the necessary Class Environmental Assessment Study (EA Study) to address missing road network connection and capacity.
Schaeffers Consulting Engineers (SCE) has been retained by the RHL to carry out the EA Study.
The road alignment may vary within the study corridor due to site specific constraints. The EA Study will identify and evaluate Alternative Design Concepts for the new roadway between Dufferin Street and Bathurst Street and determine a Preferred Design Concept(s).
By eliminating an important gap in the City’s transportation network, the Kirby Road Extension will improve capacity, continuity and effectiveness of existing network, including vehicular, pedestrian and cycling opportunities.
Study Process and Timeline
The Study is being planned in accordance with the MEA Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) document (October 2000, as amended) as a Schedule “C” Municipal Road Project. The Phase 1 – Problem and /or Opportunity and Phase 2 – Alternative Solutions have been completed and addressed in the both 2013 CoV and 2016 York Region TMPs. In addition, the Phases 1 and 2 findings will be revisited by the Project Team and this Class EA Study will carry out the Phase 3 – Alternative Design Concepts for Preferred Solution and Phase 4 – Environmental Study Report of the MEA MCEA planning and design process.
Figure below presents an overview of the Class EA process with the scope of the Kirby Road EA Study highlighted with red dashed line.
The MEA MCEA process includes mandatory consultation with public and review agencies, evaluation of design alternatives to the undertaking, assessment and mitigation of potential effects of the proposed road extension on the environment.
At the conclusion of the EA Study, an Environmental Study Report (ESR) will be prepared that documents the study process and identifies the preferred alignment and design for the extension of Kirby Road. The ESR will be provided to the CoV for review.
Following their review, City’s staff will table a report to the Committee of the Whole meeting on the outcome of the Kirby Road Extension EA Study, which is anticipated in Q1 2019. The report will be recommending whether or not the City will join RHL as a co-proponent of the EA Study, issue a Notice of Study Completion and file the ESR for the 30-day public review period.
Public consultation is a vital part of the EA process. At key study milestones, Public Information Centres (PICs) will provide anyone with an interest in this study with opportunity to review and discuss project related issues. PIC details will be advertised in local newspapers and this web page closer to consultation dates.
Please click on the respective link below to download the file for review. We encourage you to review the materials and contact the Project Team, should you have any questions or wish to share your valuable input.
PIC #1 for this study was held on June 29, 2017.
PIC #2 for this study was held on June 28, 2018.
RHL and the City of Vaughan, following City of Vaughan Council authorization in June 2019, are pleased to provide a Notice as co-proponents that the Municipal Class EA Study for the extension of Kirby Road between Bathurst Street and Dufferin Street in the City of Vaughan is complete.
Appendix C – Supporting Studies and Reports