Environmental protection is for the benefits of the land and all those who use and rely on it. The environment encompasses all natural resources available including, water, soil, air, wildlife, plants, and cultural spaces. Past mistakes have caused negative impacts to the environment that effect everyone, the purpose of environmental protection is to restore and protect valuable natural resources for the community and for generations to come. In order to make sure everyone in the community has a fair and reasonable access to a clean environment, an environmental management plan is created to guide the use of these resources. This plan also helps to guide the approval of proposed projects that could impact the environment negatively. For example, a solid waste management plan must be created to plan how waste will be disposed of appropriately, in a way that it does not end up dumped onto the land to contaminate the soil and water. A healthy environment is the first step to sustaining a healthy and prosperous community for everyone.
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS – EVALUATING PROJECTS
The purpose of an Environmental Review is to consider all the possible environmental effects associated with proposed activities in a project. The review results will recommend appropriate mitigation strategies or a precautionary approach to limit any environmental effects. Recommendations will be made in accordance with the significance of the potential environmental impacts, given the scope of the project. Mitigation measures will be proposed to reduce or eliminate the impacts of any considerable environmental risks. Precautionary actions must be taken to protect the natural environment from any unforeseen sources of contamination or ecological disturbance. A preliminary search into past environmental reports is done to determine an environmental baseline for the site prior to project commencement. This will create a baseline for rehabilitation efforts to support the restoration of the site to its original condition following decommission. The location of underlying aquifers and aquifer recharge zones may be mapped for the knowledge of the Lands Department with the purpose of creating mitigation measures to protect these areas. Aquifer recharge zones and aquatic ecosystems are valuable environmental areas and in order to prevent spills or contaminants from entering the groundwater, precautions must be employed. A precautionary approach would be to distance all industrial projects from sensitive ecological areas including riparian habitat, aquifer recharge zones, all bodies of water, wetlands, groundwater, or floodplains.