6. Summary of the Strategic Environmental Assessment
6.5 Identifying Impact Sources and Evaluating Preoccupations
Owing to the urban nature and intensive use of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal National Historic Site of Canada, the preservation of its natural components is related primarily to preserving the surrounding environment. In general, the anticipated impacts on natural resources do not give cause for concern. However, the increased level of services offered to shoreside visitors and pleasure boaters, particularly through the improvements planned in the area around the lock and the greater number of mooring places, raises concerns about possible negative impacts on the environment. Indeed, it is hard to predict the extent to which site use will increase, and, during peak periods, it will be difficult to keep visitors in the areas specially designed for them. The site’s ornamental vegetation is likely to be trampled and damaged. Similarly, birdlife and fish are likely to be disturbed by the growing number of visitors, although the impact might not be as great as anticipated given that wildlife frequent this sector to only a limited degree.
The main source of potential negative impacts on the site’s cultural resources is the projected increase in the level of services to shoreside visitors and pleasure boaters. Reorganization of the area for the purpose of delivering services might have major repercussions on both buried and surface resources, while growth in the number of visitors could damage or lead to the premature wear of surface vestiges.
Any effort to market the site through products and services that fail to highlight its historical value or that are out of keeping with the main messages delivered to underscore this aspect would inevitably be detrimental to preserving its cultural character.