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Southeast Stoney Trail: A CEAA Screening Environmental Assessment for a Canada Building Fund Project


Southeast Stoney Trail (SEST) is a high standard freeway in the vicinity of the City of Calgary planned for construction by Alberta Transportation. This project is an integral part of the Calgary Ring Road freeway planned for Calgary since the 1970s to facilitate the transport of goods to markets, to divert trucks and other vehicles from urban road systems and to reduce inner-city congestion. Construction of SEST commenced in spring 2010 as a public-private partnership (P3) between the Province of Alberta and Chinook Road Partnership. The P3 bidding phase for SEST commenced in March 2009, with the P3 agreement finalized on 30 March 2010. In May 2009, the Government of Canada announced that $100 million in funding for the project would be available through the Building Canada Fund, subject in part to the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Transport Canada committed to expediting the CEAA approval to maintain the planned construction schedule. An environmental assessment screening (EA) had not been undertaken specifically for the project. However, EAs previously completed by two different consultants for the East and South components of the Ring Road system addressed the entire Southeast Stoney Trail alignment. In order to simplify the review and approval process and ensure that the impacts associated with the project were clearly documented, AMEC extracted and compiled the relevant information from the previous EAs into a single project-specific screening environmental assessment. This required careful consideration and merging of two different impact assessment approaches and results, to ensure the professional judgment in both consultant reports was not misrepresented. The EA was completed and submitted to federal regulators in early August of 2009. The Environmental Screening Report for the project was signed off in December 2009, allowing for the release of the Building Canada Fund monies. This turnaround was markedly shorter compared to other recent Alberta Transportation projects submitted under CEAA, suggesting there may opportunities to apply these efficiencies on future projects subject to CEAA approvals.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Ian Campbell
Environmental issues