Ottawa announces the start of a public consultation on the Lac-Mégantic bypass construction project
Ottawa announced on Friday the start of a public consultation on a new stage in the development of the Lac-Mégantic bypass.
The consultation will take place from January 21 to February 4, Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Thursday.
The public will be invited to submit written comments on the project, including on major planned works, construction activities, committees and means of communication with stakeholders, as well as the operation of rail facilities, Transport Canada said. in a press release.
Those who wish to ask questions orally will also be able to do so during virtual information sessions hosted by the ministry. Two sessions are scheduled for January 27 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
This consultation is part of the federal government’s application to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) for project approval. The consultation report will be made public.
Residents of Lac-Mégantic have been calling for this bypass of their community since the tragedy of July 6, 2013. The derailment of a train transporting crude oil killed 47 people and destroyed part of the town.
Other public consultations were conducted by the Government of Quebec, including the environmental assessment and the consultations of the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), completed in 2019, as well as the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Quebec (CPTAQ) consultation in 2020.
Minister Alghabra noted that it will be an opportunity to obtain feedback from citizens “on the implementation of the next stages of the project, including the construction and operation of the future railway”.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau assured people in the Lac-Mégantic region that work on the bypass “will begin soon.”
The governments of Canada and Quebec are funding the bypass construction project, which will be managed and owned by Canadian Pacific (CP).
The new 12.5 kilometer railway line will cross the municipalities of Nantes, Lac-Mégantic and Frontenac, said Transport Canada.
Last November, the federal government announced that it had set up an office in the region to meet with the owners of land to be acquired for the bypass. He had started submitting initial offers to buy the land.
The ministry did not provide a specific date for the start of construction of the bypass. The federal government had previously said it expected it to be “fully completed by 2023”.
More information on the public consultation can be found at Transport Canada website.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on January 20, 2022.