Toyota announced in July of 2005 that a new automobile plant would be constructed in Woodstock, Ontario with operational startup scheduled for 2008. Toyota needed an economical and reliable way to ship manufactured automobiles
to destinations throughout Canada and the United States. To meet Toyota’s transportation needs, Canadian Pacific Railway
(CPR) was awarded the service contract to provide rail-freight transportation services. CPR’s in-service commitment to
Toyota necessitated that CPR obtain
all environmental approvals, and design and construct a 5-km-long railway spur line
from its existing
mainline to Toyota’s proposed plant location as well construct a 21.3-hectare pre-tripping yard to store
and prepare rail cars for loading.
The project study area was situated within private lands as well as lands owned by the Upper Thames River Conservation
Authority (UTRCA). Key environmental features in the study area included the Gordon Pittock Reservoir; provincially
significant wetlands; a recognized Important Bird Area; habitat of the least bittern, a provincially and federally threatened
bird species; and a pine plantation forest used by local mountain biking clubs.
Hatch Energy, in conjunction with Hatch Mott MacDonald, completed a Federal Screening under the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act for the proposed railway spur line and pre-tripping yard to service the proposed Toyota
automobile manufacturing plant in Woodstock, Ontario.
Key aspects of the project included:
- Field studies, including an evaluation of fish habitat and riparian vegetation
- Geotechnical investigation including borehole drilling and groundwater monitoring and modeling
- Completion of Stage I/II archaeological assessments
- Completion of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
- Noise monitoring and completion of a noise and vibration study
- Use of GIS mapping software to identify sensitive environmental features and constraints
- Preparation of preliminary and detailed engineering drawings
- Preparation of project description report
- Preparation of an Environmental Assessment Screening Report
- Agency and public consultation activities including newspaper notices, stakeholder mail-outs and public information
- The federal environmental assessment screening and engineering design were successfully conducted as a
fast-tracked project assignment to meet CPR’s in-service commitment to Toyota for rail shipping of automobiles.
- The federal environment assessment screening was successfully conducted to meet the requirements of several key
agencies including the Canadian Transportation Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, and
Environment Canada with no major delays or agency concerns.
- The environmental requirements of the UTRCA were successfully addressed as part of the screening process,
achieving Board member support for the project which enabled the timely transfer of conservation authority lands to
CPR thereby maintaining the project schedule and fostering local community support.
Both CPR and Hatch Energy health and safety protocols were followed throughout the project.