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Potential heritage impacts push pause on London’s bus rapid transit plans

A rendering of the Wellington & King intersection with bus rapid transit infrastructure, as found on the interactive map. City of London

The city of London is reporting a delay in the bus rapid transit assessment process.

On Monday, the city issued a statement announcing that more research was needed on the potential impacts on heritage, which is considered a “matter of provincial importance.”

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“Through discussions with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, we determined there is a need at this point to more fully explore any potential heritage impacts and describe in detail our strategy for managing and mitigating any impacts,” said BRT project director Jennie Ramsay.

“We opted to pause the process to assure the ministry we are adequately addressing this matter of provincial concern before moving forward.”

Ramsay said there are 67 properties that could be impacted by construction accord to research so far.

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“We know that along a lot of these routes, just because of the age of our city, having a mature city like London means there’s potential for heritage along all the routes. That’s why it’s so important that we’re clear how we’re going to evaluate that heritage impact and then have a strategy to mitigate it going forward.”

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According to Ward 4 councillor Jesse Helmer, a heritage review was always part of the planning process.

“It’s a good thing that we’re taking our time, and being diligent about it,” he explained.

“I think our staff are very well prepared to get into that conversation with the province and catch them up with what we’ve been doing in London and the strategy going forward.”

A 120-day public consultation period was scheduled to wrap up Oct. 4 with a 30-day public review period set to follow.

There’s no word yet on how long the pause will last and on when the public review period will begin, but the statement notes that “briefly pausing” the process is not expected to have “a material impact on the overall 10-year project timeline.”

 

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