Ontario announces EA exemption for Bell Boulevard widening, commits ICIP funding for project



Belleville – The Ontario government is allowing the City of Belleville to expedite the widening of Bell Boulevard between Sidney Street and Wallbridge Loyalist Road from two lanes to four lanes in order to improve public safety along the busy corridor, Todd Smith, the MPP for Bay of Quinte announced today.

“We recognize the importance of this project to the City of Belleville, both as an economic driver and a safety consideration,” said Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte. “The Shorelines Casino, the planned Costco store, and related development are bringing good jobs to the city. They also bring increased traffic flow to this Hwy 401 detour route, so it’s important this road widening proceed to accommodate this growth effectively.”

Traffic volumes on Bell Boulevard are expected to exceed the road’s current capacity by the end of 2020. To ensure timely completion of the widening project, the City of Belleville requested exemption from the class environmental assessment process as potential environmental effects are expected to be minimal, given the existence of the current road and other commercial developments.

After careful review, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek granted the exemption and imposed seven conditions on the project, including requirements to...

• mitigate potential effects associated with the project in accordance with their environmental studies, including creating an environmental protection plan which incorporates these mitigation measures,
• consult with the local conservation authority regarding stormwater management planning
• report to the ministry on how it has complied with these conditions within 12 months of the project implementation.

Smith commended Yurek for allowing the project to proceed, while noting the City held public consultation sessions earlier this year and found general support for the project.

The MPP also confirmed that in July, the Province endorsed the Bell Boulevard expansion under the Rural and Northern stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan. Pending a federal contribution, Ontario will provide $1,666,500 toward the total project cost.

“We’re eager to see shovels in the ground as soon as possible,” Smith said. “This is an important project for residents and businesses in my Bay of Quinte riding.