13.0 SUMMARY OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
The Management Plan for the Rideau Canal National Historic Site presents a vision of how Parks Canada and the community view the future of the Canal and the actions required to fulfil that vision. The Environmental Assessment (EA) document was prepared at the draft stage of the plan to identify any adverse environmental impact of existing and proposed facilities or activities in the plan. In addition, the EA’s purpose is to assess the plan’s adherence to Parks Canada’s environmental policies and those of the government in general.
The plan proposes a wide variety of progressive concepts and management initiatives, all of which are aimed at protecting the resources represented by the Canal. Many of the existing activities/operations/uses at the Canal are the source of historical and current impact on the key components of the cultural, natural or socio-economic environments, most of which originate from users of the waterway or by cooperative partners. Given the vast number and variety of users of the Canal corridor, ensuring that the integrity of the Canal from all perspectives (natural, cultural and socio-economic) is, by far, a huge challenge. However, the manner in which this challenge can be met is through recognition of the positive impact of the proposed activities and concepts in the new plan. Many of these positive aspects are statements regarding the management and protection of the resources, forward-moving initiatives to enhance the management and protection strategies already in place and methods by which to draw more visitors to the Canal and thereby generate revenue. In many cases, the plan allows for mechanisms to deal with these issues through management strategies, rather than specific physical works or projects.
Monitoring will be critical to ensure that mitigation strategies are appropriate and effective. Establishment of an effective feedback mechanism is important to ensure that the monitoring is communicated to those who can promote implementation. There should be ongoing involvement of Parks Canada in any development proposals set forth within Canal boundaries and, whenever possible, on adjacent lands. Collectively, the strategies set forth in the management plan are there to ensure that resources of the site, not currently under threat, remain as such and that those currently under threat become protected.
The plan initiatives contribute to the commemorative integrity of the Canal and clearly demonstrate adherence to Parks Canada’s cultural resource management goals and objectives. In so doing,they should enable the Rideau Canal National Historic Site to achieve its vision.