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Winnipeg Floodway - Expansion

floodway in 1997 flood Manitoba Clean Environment Commission (CEC) hearings for the proposed Floodway Expansion project began February 15, 2005, to conclude in March 2005. Four days of hearings were held outside Winnipeg, in Oakbank. No public hearings are being held in the Red River Valley, south of Winnipeg, and south of the floodgates.

The hearings started February 14, 2005, however the CEC heard arguments regarding a motion filed by the rural municipalities (RM) of East St. Paul, Springfield and St. Clements. The motion requested that the CEC adjourn the hearings and direct the Manitoba Floodway Authority (MFA), the project proponent, to provide more information on the design of the floodway expansion so the RMs can properly analyze the impacts. The municipalities are worried the $665-million floodway expansion could cause their aquifers to leak into the floodway and that contaminated water would seep into their drinking water. Aquifer damage has resulted from the original floodway.

The Chair of the CEC dismissed the RMs motion on February 15, 2005, indicating that the issues raised in the municipalities' motion will be addressed through the hearing process.

View the CEC hearings transcript
View the motion, CEC decision, and the motions brief on the CEC web site

Floodway Hearings Conclude

The Clean Environment Commission (CEC) adjourned the public hearings for the proposed Manitoba Floodway Expansion project March 10, 2005.

Issues featured in closing statements included the lack of acknowledgement of the existing floodway and its ongoing impacts, and the need for environmental assessment of effects from both the existing floodway and the proposed expansion. Manitoba Wildlands Director Gaile Whelan Enns made closing statements before the CEC to March 9, 2005. Ms. Whelan Enns noted the inadequacy of the EIS and review process in terms of impacts on protected areas and fulfillment of existing public policies. Manitoba Wildlands also pointed to climate change impacts from expanding the floodway and advocated for a strategy to make the project carbon-neutral. Ms. Whelan Enns noted "It is time for Manitoba to make this project carbon neutral, thereby proving that Manitoba is Kyoto friendly, carbon savvy and emissions wise."

The CEC has 90 days from hearings adjournment to deliberate and produce a report with recommendations to the Minister of Conservation regarding the proposed Floodway Expansion project. Concurrently, the federal responsible authorities (the Departments of Transport, Infrastructure, and Fisheries and Oceans) will be producing a screening report as per the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).

View transcripts for March 8, 9, 10, 2005 includes closing statements by public participants
View the transcript of Manitoba Wildlands' closing statement (begin page 3705, line 11)
bulletDownload Manitoba Wildlands' closing statement and recommendations (PDF)

Floodway Expansion Project Environmental Assessment

In July 2003, a project description for the proposed Red River Floodway Expansion project was filed under Manitoba's Environment Act, triggering development of Guidelines for an Environmental Impact Statement. An expansion to increase the capacity of the existing floodway has been under discussion since the 1997 flood. The Floodway Authority (the Authority) is an entity established by the Province of Manitoba charged with the responsibility of executing the work required to complete the floodway expansion project.

View the MFA web site
View the Manitoba Floodway Expansion Authority web site
View the Public Registry for the proposed Floodway Expansion project (File #4967.00)
View the Notice of Environment Act Proposal for the proposed Floodway Expansion (File #4967.00)
View the July 2003 Floodway Expansion Project Description (PDF)

Red River The Floodway Expansion project is being assessed by the provincial and federal governments through the Manitoba Environment Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). The review and assessment needs to take place in accordance with the Canada - Manitoba Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation.

Canada has identified responsibilities under CEAA regarding the proposed Floodway Expansion project. CEAA is triggered by federal funds for the project, making the Infrastructure and Communities minister a responsible authority (RA) under CEAA. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Minister for Transport Canada are also RAs for the Floodway Expansion project due to statutory responsibilities.

View the federal public registry for the proposed Floodway Expansion project

Under the Manitoba Environment Act, the Floodway Expansion project is considered a Class 2 Water Development and Control undertaking. The Minister of Conservation directed that public hearings regarding the proposed project be held as part of the review process for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Draft Guidelines for the preparation of an EIS for the proposed Floodway Expansion project were released in August 2003, with public comments requested. Manitoba Wildlands, along with several other groups and individuals, provided comments on the Draft Guidelines.

View the August 2003 Draft Guidelines (PDF)
bulletDownload Manitoba Wildlands' October 2003 comments on the Draft Guidelines for Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the Red River Floodway Expansion Project (DOC)
View the February 2004 Final Guidelines (PDF)
View the August 2004 proposed Floodway Expansion Project EIS
bulletDownload Manitoba Wildlands' October 2004 comments on the proposed Floodway Expansion Project EIS (PDF)
Floodway Control tower
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In August 2004, the proponents submitted its environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Floodway Expansion project. Manitoba Wildlands submitted comments on the proposed Floodway Expansion project EIS.

The Project Administration Team (PAT), consisting of responsible federal and provincial government department representatives, and chaired by Manitoba, is also charged with the review of materials submitted by the proponents, including the EIS. Their comments can be found on the public registry site (PDF).

The PAT also made an additional request of the proponents in a letter dated November 1, 2004 (PDF) in regards to the project EIS, to emphasize specific information that required attention in the preparation of the MFA supplemental filing.

The proponents (the MFA) submitted a supplementary filing on November 29, 2004. The filing consisted of twelve sections, where sections 1 - 12 were reports and information that the proponents did not file at the time of the submission of the EIS, or the MFA had acknowledged that they should have been included in the EIS. Section 13 of the MFA supplemental filing was intended to address PAT and public comments on the original EIS filing.

Some of the groups and individuals who provided comments on the EIS, including Manitoba Wildlands, were of the view that the supplementary filing by the MFA was inadequate and did not sufficiently and/or failed to address certain comments and elements of the EIS guidelines, and previous review comments regarding the EIS filing. Accordingly, Manitoba Wildlands and other submitted comments on the November 2004 supplementary filing.

View the November 2004 Supplementary Filing to the proposed Red River Floodway Expansion Project EIS
bulletDownload Manitoba Wildlands' January 2005 comments on the Supplementary Filing to the proposed Red River Floodway Expansion Project EIS (PDF)

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