For Immediate Release

Friday, August 28, 2020 - Port Hope, ON

The Municipality of Port Hope, concurrently with Cameco Corporation (Cameco), is sharing that Cameco has approached the Municipality with a proposal to alter their Vision in Motion (VIM) project to exclude the construction of the Choate Street extension, a road that was planned to support the Waterfront Master Plan and Cameco’s VIM project.

“Cameco’s proposed changes to the VIM project are still in the early review stages and no decisions have been made at this time,” explains Bob Sanderson, Mayor of the Municipality of Port Hope. “Upon learning of the proposed changes, Municipal staff have been directed to engage our legal representation to review the previously established agreements and to develop a strategy to move forward. We will continue to work with Cameco towards a mutually beneficial outcome and we intend to engage our Waterfront and River Walk Working Group as well as our residents and community stakeholders. Changes to Cameco’s VIM project does not nullify the objectives that the Municipality has established for our waterfront development, trail linkages, infrastructure improvements, and plans for enhanced beach access.”

The proposed changes impact at least two legal agreements: By-law 60/2014, which is the purchase and sale agreement between the Municipality and Cameco for Park Land and Roads, and By-law 61/2014, the road construction agreement between the Municipality and Cameco for construction of a new roadway corridor. Changes to these contracts would require the mutual agreement of both the Municipality and Cameco. Should that occur, it would take place through an open and transparent process.

In 2018, The Municipality of Port Hope retained Ainley Group to complete the design and to undertake the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process for the proposed extension of Choate Street. Choate Street is located between Hayward Street and Eldorado Place in the south end of the Municipality of Port Hope, adjacent to Lake Ontario and was planned for extension as part of the approved federal environmental assessment for the Vision in Motion project at the Port Hope Conversion Facility. The Vision in Motion study was approved in accordance with Canadian Environmental Assessment Act requirements in 2012.

Public and agency consultation is an important component of the Environmental Assessment process. As such, three Public Information Centres were held to provide residents and concerned citizens with additional information and answer questions regarding the project. Further, residents were invited to submit comments and feedback about the project design and implementation throughout the consultation period.

The resources committed by the Municipality for the Choate Street extension project to date include Works and Engineering staff time and resources dedicated to the initial project planning. Additionally, the Municipality has incurred costs for legal expenses relevant to the historic agreements that are in place. Per the agreements, Cameco has covered all environmental assessment expenses, design costs, and survey costs for the Choate Street extension.

There remain several outstanding effects to be considered, as staff and Council strategize a way forward with the proposed elimination of the Choate Street extension from Cameco’s VIM project plan. These consist of physical impacts, including transportation and parking and impacts to infrastructure, such as the storm sewer system that has been contemplated as part of the current agreements, and pedestrian accessibility to the West Beach and playground, as previously highlighted by the Municipality as a feature of the Choate Street extension. As staff and Council continue to assess the proposal from Cameco, they will be seeking input from the Waterfront and River Walk Working Group, residents, and community stakeholders, as part of the decision-making process.

At this time, the proposal presents no known impacts to the clean-up project, currently being undertaken by the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI). The clean-up will continue, as scheduled by the PHAI, and restoration of the area, after remediation, will include like-for-like restoration to the areas impacted by the clean-up.

Cameco representatives are planning to appear as a delegation before Council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on September 15, 2020, to inform the community of their amended VIM project plans. This meeting will take place electronically and the public is welcome to participate via computer, tablet, or telephone. Meeting details and a link to participate will be included on the agenda and posted on the Council Portal on Friday, September 11, 2020.

Current Status of Choate Street: Environmental Assessment and Part II Order Requests

In January 2020, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks advised that Part II Order requests had been filed with the Ministry.

Part II Order requests are to be filed by individuals during the Environmental Assessment (EA) process if significant outstanding issues have not been addressed or resolved. This request asks the Ministry to conduct a higher level of assessment.

In August 2020, the Ministry advised that the Part II Order Requests filed with respect to the Choate Street Extension have been terminated by the Province, which now completes the EA process. The proposed changes to Cameco’s VIM project are subsequently independent of the EA process.

Regular updates regarding changes to the Choate Street extension project will be posted online on the municipal website, as the information becomes available. For questions about the municipal implications of these proposed changes can be directed to Jeanette Davidson, Director of Works and Engineering.

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For more information, please contact us.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, please be aware that the Municipality of Port Hope has closed all municipal buildings. Our staff remain working from home and we encourage all business to be done through email or phone. We will make this transition as seamless as possible.