KINGSTON, Ont. — Howe Island’s contentious single-lane bridge proposal may have run into a massive roadblock in the form of Kingston city council.
Reports from the city’s Environment and Planning Departments point to a number of deficiencies in Howe Island’s environmental assessment. Both departments urge council to ask the environment minister to order more studies before a proposed Narrows bridge can be built.
The city’s staff is now recommending what is known as a bump-up, a more rigorous level of assessment, in this case an individual environmental assessment, which would force Frontenac Islands to undertake more studies. Bump-up requests are rarely granted. Individual environmental assessments typically apply to heavy industrial developments like nuclear power plants.
In the minds of city planners, Howe Island’s environmental assessment — a complex set of technical and environmental studies — has failed to define several aspects of the project. These include, environmental conditions, potential impacts and solutions for the section of the bridge that will land in Kingston, connecting the bridge with Hwy. 2.
Should the island’s assessment eventually gain the needed approvals, the bridge will still face a number of hurdles before construction begins. Not the least of which is that the $9-million bridge is contingent on government funding. SuperBuild, the province’s capital spending corporation, has not yet agreed to provide it.