Environmental Impact Assessment
York Factory National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan
The "York Factory National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan" was subjected to a strategic environmental assessment pursuant toThe Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, 2004. The evaluation of environmental effects included a consideration of natural, cultural and socio-economic effects.
The management plan will have many positive effects as a result of preserving and enhancing knowledge of cultural resources at the site, enhancing public appreciation and understanding, increasing knowledge of permafrost, and protecting natural resources.
Mitigations to reduce negative effects will include consultation with archaeologists prior to any digging or probing in the ground to ensure that cultural resources are not damaged. As well riverbank stabilization, camping activities, vegetation clearing and proposed modifications to any of the buildings on site could be subject to project-specific assessments conducted under theCanadian Environmental Assessment Act or Parks Canada policy as the project develops from conceptual stage to design and implementation. Environmental assessments should begin early in the planning process, particularly for the riverbank stabilization. It is important that the feasibility study on riverbank stabilization include elements of an environmental assessment to accurately predict the cost of mitigations.
The preparation of the York Factory NHSC management plan offered the opportunity for public input from key stakeholders and interested public. Public consultations with local communities and other stakeholders about the management plan occurred from the summer of 2005 until the fall of 2006. In general, the public are supportive of Parks Canada’s management plan for York Factory NHSC. Stakeholders and the public understand and respect the cultural and historic significance of the site and are interested in protecting it. The planning team reviewed the draft management plan in light of all public input received and used the input to refine the actions set out in the management plan.
This strategic environmental assessment has determined the actions in the management plan, if they include the option to stabilize the riverbank, and surrounding cumulative activities, are not expected to be significant. However, if the riverbank stabilization does not go ahead there will eventually be a significant effect, as the entire site and many cultural resources will eventually be lost. Loss of the site would have negative impacts on cultural resources and socio-economics in the region. Commemorative integrity would be completely lost as the site and many cultural resources would, within 100-150 years, be totally destroyed by the eroding riverbank. Loss of the site would mean a loss of a piece of Canadian history, First Nations homeland, jobs and a sector of the tourism industry that York Factory NHSC provides the area.
TheStrategic Environmental Assessment of the York Factory National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan (Parks Canada 2006) must be referred to in implementing this management plan.