Municipal Class Environmental Assessment
Part A - Class EA Planning Process


Phase 3

Phase 3 outlines a process similar to that followed in Phase 2. In Phase 3, possible design concepts which might be utilized to implement the preferred alternative solution identified in Phase 2 are evaluated. Steps to be taken are:

Identify alternative designs for the preferred solution

Step 1 Identification of alternative designs for the preferred solution. There are usually a number of ways in which a project can be developed and designed to implement the preferred solution. Each reasonable design shall be identified and described.
Step 2 Preparation of a detailed inventory of the natural, social and economic environments. At this point, rather than dealing with the general environment of the area, the particular components of the environment which must be considered and evaluated shall be identified in detail. However, the need only be carried out to the extent necessary to select a preferred design.
Step 3 Identification of the potential impact of the alternative designs. The impact of each alternative design on the environment inventoried in Step 2 shall then be established. Appropriate mitigating measures shall also be identified and evaluated. Depending on the complexity or magnitude of the project, Steps 2 and 3 may involve detailed environmental studies in order that sufficient and appropriate information is available on which to base ensuing decisions and to allow the public to fully understand the environmental implications of the project.
Step 4 Evaluation of the alternative designs, taking into consideration all the environmental impacts identified in Step 3 and appropriate mitigating measures. This Step will probably lead to the preliminary identification of a recommended design.

Step 5
Consultation with review agencies and the public, including those who previously expressed interest and/or concern and those directly affected by the project, to solicit comment and input. At this point the project is usually well developed, the results and conclusions from studies and investigations are available and some design detail may have been prepared to indicate how the preliminary recommended design will be employed to implement the preferred solution. Environmental impacts of the project will be well understood and the rationale for the identification of the recommended design will be clear.

Secondary Mandatory point of contact with public to review alternative design options and preliminary determination of a preferred design.

  This information must be shared with the public and review agencies at this point to obtain further comment and input. It is important, however, that the recommended design not be presented as a decision but as a preliminary preference based on a rational evaluation of available information. Input from review agencies and the public is necessary and important at this stage to assist the proponent by providing additional information, in reviewing the evaluation and in arriving at the best decision. (Where studies are necessary to support the decisions made, the feasibility of the preferred alternative, and the conclusions drawn about the environmental impacts and mitigation measures (for example, hydrogeological study for a communal water supply) review agency input on the technical studies at or before Step 5 is critical.)

The public and review agencies shall also be made aware of their right of appeal (see Section A.2.8) through this notification. This is the second mandatory point of contact with the public for Schedule C projects.
Step 6 Selection or confirmation of the preferred design. Having identified all environmental impacts, having determined mitigating measures to minimize impact on the environment, and having gained further input from interested parties, the preferred design can be confirmed. At this point, the proponent is able to review and confirm project status. The environmental significance of the preferred design shall be reviewed to confirm that the planning process for Schedule C projects is appropriate and that the remaining procedures in Phases 4 and 5 should be followed. Alternatively, the proponent may decide that concerns and issues raised by the public are such that they cannot be resolved by the Class EA process. In this case it would be appropriate for the proponent to undertake an individual environmental assessment for the project.
Step 7 Preliminary finalization of preferred design. The design has been selected with the assistance of input from the public and the proponent is now able to begin design of the project in sufficient detail to be able to outline the project in the ESR. Finalization of detailed design should await Phase 5 when the ESR has been issued and reviewed by the public.