Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

New route of Highway 413 because of a frog?

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The Western Chorus Frog lives in wet environments that dry out in summer, such as marshes, swamps and drainage ditches.

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The western chorus frog is about an inch long, weighs only about a gram and is listed as threatened, but the little frog could cause the Ford government plenty of headaches. Being listed on Ottawa's endangered species registry, it may have to force the Ontario government to change the proposed route for Highway 413, one of its flagship projects.

The western chorus frog typically breeds in vernal pools, says David Seburn, a wildlife biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Many of these temporary ponds are not highly valued or considered important habitats, so they are often the first habitats to be drained and developed, he laments, adding that habitat destruction is a important factor in the decline of the species.

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The project Highway 413.

The frog species is protected under the federal Species at Risk registry, but not by provincial registries.

This is one of the reasons why the federal government is expressing its concerns about the project in a report. analysis prepared in 2021. The document stated that it was unclear whether a provincial environmental assessment could mitigate impacts to the habitat of species like the tree frog.

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Ottawa finally chose to designate the highway in May 2021. The federal government is still awaiting documents from the province which will allow it to determine whether an assessment is necessary. After an environmental assessment, the federal government could choose whether to permit construction and require certain conditions.

L&#x27 The future of the construction of Highway 413 therefore depends in part on the government responsible for controlling the environmental assessment of the project.

The construction of this highway was one of the central promises of Doug Ford during his re-election campaign in 2022. The Progressive Conservatives won all the seats in Peel and York, the two regions that the highway was to link.

We will ensure that we adhere to the environmental protection measures we have vigorously put in place, but our priority is to build the 413, said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation of Ontario, during ;a press conference at the beginning of December.

The case, however, has been in legal limbo since the Supreme Court declared that several sections of the Impact Assessment Act were unconstitutional, including those concerning designated projects, such as Highway 413.

The law is still in force, but the federal government has indicated that it intends to amend it to restore its constitutionality. For its part, Ontario recently filed a lawsuit to prevent the federal government from intervening.

The presence of breeding sites for the Western Chorus Frog in Montérégie interrupted real estate development in 2016 and, more recently , disrupted a road construction project.

With information from CBC

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