Environmental Impact Assessment
Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan
Summary of the Strategic Environmental Assessment
This management plan for the Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site underwent a strategic environmental assessment. The purpose of this assessment was to examine the impact of the proposed activities and management measures on the site’s commemorative integrity and protection of the site’s biophysical resources.
The environmental assessment was based on the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (1999) and is in accordance with directions outlined in the Parks Canada Guiding Principles and Operational Policies (1994) and Parks Canada Management Directive 2.4.2 on Impact Assessment (1998).
An initial verification has shown this management plan to be in accordance with all Parks Canada and Government of Canada policies.
The scope of the assessment indicates what is included and what is not included in the environmental assessment, thus defining its limitations. The spatial boundaries used for the purposes of the assessment are the boundaries of the designated place and the administered place. The deadlines adopted cover the same time period as management plan’s 15-year outlook for this historic site.
Assessment of potential impacts of activities and management measures
Sources of stress on the site’s cultural and biophysical resources have been analyzed to identify any impacts on heritage resources. The analysis shows that the majority of sources of potential stress have no impact on the site’s natural and cultural resources. Some have a slight impact.
In some cases, operating the historic site could threaten heritage resources. Certain management measures are likely to have an impact and would therefore merit particular attention. These management measures involve the protection of the historic site’s cultural resources or its presentation. The mitigation measures proposed will lessen certain negative impacts on commemorative integrity and the protection of biophysical resources.
Overall, the analyses lead us to believe that the management plan will play a positive role in ensuring the commemorative integrity of the Cartier residences.
Assessment of potential cumulative impacts of activities and management measures
The assessment of cumulative impacts is based on the principle that the combined effects of various projects and activities may give rise to impacts that are greater than or different from those that would be caused by the projects and activities on an individual basis.
Verification of the residual effects of the management plan has shown that little residual impact should persist once mitigation measures and strategies have been applied.
With regard to the overall consequences of the present document in terms of cumulative impacts, they involve the increase in visitor traffic and the way the site is used.
Mitigation measures to eliminate or minimize negative impacts
Like the management plan, the mitigation of impacts will be done strategically. These mitigation strategies will be particularly aimed at:
- applying the precautionary principle and adaptive management for the designated place and the administered place in Parks Canada’s strategy for protecting commemorative integrity and protecting natural resources;
- minimizing impacts on cultural and natural resources when planning projects or activities stemming from the implementation of the management plan; these strategies will be determined through the environmental assessment process;
- implementing a strategy for environmental management that systematically takes into account environmental considerations with regard to programs and operations at the historic site; the site will adopt environmentally friendly practices and put into place an environmental management system that will enable us to constantly work towards improving the site’s environmental performance.
The results of the strategic environmental assessment lead us to conclude that based on the information available this management plan is acceptable from an environmental standpoint. In addition, the management plan will update and improve the commemorative integrity of the Cartier residences and protection of the biophysical resources. A number of negative impacts can be lessened through the application of certain strategies and measures. However, this strategic review brought to light several concerns involving the protection of cultural and natural resources.
The negative impacts that give the greatest cause for concern can be mitigated using known technical measures or other means that have proven effective in the past. An environmental assessment of projects will have to be conducted at a later stage in the planning process when sufficient details of what is entailed are known. These potential impacts of operating the historic site could be controlled through an environmental assessment of the operations.