From Torontoist: So What Is An Environmental Assessment, Anyway?

Can a small turtle shape the direction of a massive road-building project or public transit expansion? You bet it can.

Every public infrastructure project in the GTA is subject to an environmental assessment (EA) — as are some private projects — and Toronto and Region Conservation is one of several oversight bodies engaged in this process.

As this new Torontoist post explains, TRCA focuses on how projects will affect flood risk management, erosion control and terrestrial and aquatic ecologies. So if, for example, a proposed infrastructure development threatens the breeding grounds of the endangered Blanding’s turtle, the organization makes its objections known.

READ: From Torontoist: Getting to the Root of Why Our Urban Forest Matters

“First we want to avoid harm, then we want to mitigate it, then we need compensation if the project is necessary and [environmental harm] really can’t be avoided,” explains Beth Williston, TRCA’s Associate Director of Environmental Assessment Planning.

Curious about why environmental assessments are required for so many different kinds of projects, and how the EA process works? Find out more here.

Learn more about TRCA’s role in the environmental assessment process here.