Niska Road Environmental Assessment: Notice of Study Completion

Municipal Class Environmental Assessment, Schedule C Environmental Study

Niska Road Improvements from the city limits at the Speed River to the Downey Road intersection

The Study

Map showing Niska EA study areaThe City of Guelph (City) has completed a Class Environmental Assessment study (EA) to investigate opportunities for improvements to Niska Road from the city limits to Downey Road. Segments of the road and bridge are nearing the end of their useful life and require replacement or repair to prevent increasing maintenance costs, environmental impacts and community road safety issues. The EA investigated options to rehabilitate and/or reconstruct Niska Road, the bridge over the Speed River and the intersection of Niska Road and Downey Road. The EA also examined the implementation of traffic calming measures throughout the length of this road corridor. The approximate extent of the study area is shown on the map.

In addition to reviewing a variety of road cross-sections and design options, improvements to the Downey Road intersection, impacts to the environment and community road safety issues, a range of bridge repair and replacement solutions were examined including but not limited to bridge closure, rehabilitation or replacement.

The process

The EA was conducted as a Schedule C Project in accordance with the “Municipal Class Environmental Assessment” (Municipal Engineers Association, October 2000, as amended in 2007 and 2011), an approved process under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. The EA process included consultation with the local community, general public, stakeholders and the review agency. The consultation process also included a community workshop, two (2) Public Information Centres (PICs) and several committee meetings. In addition, a project–focused Community Working Group (CWG) was created and eight (8) CWG meetings were conducted to allow for examination and inclusion of community concerns.

Various studies were completed to assess potential environmental, social, cultural and economic effects of the proposed improvements. These included natural environment assessments, tree inventory and impacts assessment, wildlife assessment, cultural and built heritage evaluation, heritage viewscape assessment, stage 1 archaeological assessment, traffic impact study, travel destination survey and community safety review. Alternative solutions were evaluated for the road, bridge and intersection. Alternative design concepts and evaluation factors were updated based on consultation with review agencies and stakeholders. Natural environmental and social mitigation measures were established based on potential adverse impacts.

The EA studies and consultation identified the following preferred alternatives for Niska Road and the Bailey bridge:

  • Replace the existing one-lane Bailey bridge with a two-lane bridge.
  • Reconstruct Niska Road from the Bailey bridge to Ptarmigan Drive with two shared-use lanes and a sidewalk on the north side.

Intersection design recommendations for Niska Road at Downey Road were not carried forward as part of the EA. City Council requested the intersection design be re-examined in a subsequent study. City Council has also requested that the type and style of the two-lane bridge be determined at detailed design with public consultation.

All materials distributed at PICs, CWG and Agency meetings, correspondence received, and study results are available in the Environmental Study Report (ESR).

Comments invited

In accordance to the EA Act, the ESR has been placed on the public record and is available for review for 30 days starting February 29, 2016. An electronic copy is available online at and hard copies of the ESR will be available in the following locations.

Guelph City Hall
1 Carden Street
Guelph, ON N1H 3A1

Guelph Public Library
Main Branch, 100 Norfolk Street
Guelph, ON N1H 4J6

130 Woodland Glen Drive
Guelph, ON N1G 4M3
No longer available at this location

New location: Guelph Public Library
Scottsdale Branch
650 Scottsdale Drive
Guelph, ON N1G 3M2

Please provide written comments to the Deputy City Engineer or the City’s consultant (contact details below) by March 30, 2016. If concerns arise regarding this project which cannot be resolved through discussion with the City of Guelph, a person or party may request that the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, make an order for the project to comply with Part II of the Environmental Assessment Act (referred to as a Part II Order), which address individual environmental assessments. Request must be received by the Minister at the address below by March 30, 2016.

Director, Environmental Approvals Branch
Minister of the Environment
135 St. Clair Avenue West, 1st Floor
Toronto, ON  M4V 1P5

The Minister may make one of the following decisions:

  • Deny the request
  • Refer the matter to mediation
  • Require the City to comply with Part II of the Environmental Assessment Act by undertaking one of the following:
  • Submitting the Environmental Study Report for government review and approval; or,
  • Completing an individual Environmental Assessment for government review and approval; or,
  • Preparing Terms of Reference governing the preparation of an individual Environmental Assessment.

A copy of the letter should be sent to the City of Guelph, to the attention of Don Kudo (address below).

Information will be collected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. With the exception of personal information, all comments will become part of the public record.

For more information

Further information may be obtained from the Deputy City Engineer or the City’s consultant listed below.

Don Kudo, P. Eng.
Deputy City Engineer—Manager
Engineering and Transportation Services
City of Guelph
1 Carden Street
Guelph, ON N1H 3A1
519-837-5604 extension 2490
[email protected]
Philip Rowe, C.E.T.
Consultant Project Manager
R.J. Burnside and Associates Limited
292 Speedvale Avenue West, Unit 20
Guelph ON N1H 1C4
1-800-265-9662 extension 5915
[email protected]


This notice issued February 29, 2016.