Study Area

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Complicated Class Environmental Assessment for North Cambridge Business Park successfully completed

The East Side Lands in the Region of Waterloo, in southwest Ontario comprise an area of approximately 4,000 hectares, slated to be the next major area of development in the Region. Spanning the border between the Township of Woolwich and the City of Cambridge, the East Side Lands are bordered by the Grand River to the west, Highway 7 to the north, and Highway 8 / Highway 401 to the south.

The initial lands to be developed will be in the City of Cambridge, near its northern limit. To support development, the City of Cambridge engaged Associated Engineering to complete a Schedule ‘C’  Class Environmental Assessment study for the North Cambridge Business Park.  The study scope includes three main parts, as follows:

1. Rehabilitation / upgrades are required to the existing Freeport Creek Wetland, which was originally constructed as a stormwater management pond, so that the pond can serve as a Flood Control Structure. 

2. A new, 2 kilometre North-South Collector Road is required to connect Middle Block Road to the proposed Creekside development at the south end of the study area, and to provide access to the development lands in the business park.

3. A new Sanitary Pumping Station and Forcemain is required, to allow development of the business park.

Typically, the planning and preliminary engineering requirements for each of these three components would warrant separate Class Environmental Assessment studies.  However, since they are integrally related to each other, the City proceeded with a combined Environmental Assessment. As the prime consultant, Associated Engineering led an extensive consultation process, including the City of Cambridge, Township of Woolwich, and the Region of Waterloo, as well as representatives from the Grand River Conservation Authority and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  The study also included consultation with affected property owners and the general public.

Associated Engineering developed and assessed eight alternative scenarios for upgrading the Freeport Stormwater Management Facility. Project Manager, Duane Lindner advises, “The team completed hydrologic modelling and hydraulic modelling of the watercourse, determined upstream and downstream flood limits, and assessed the ecological impacts that each alternative would have on the existing aquatic and terrestrial habitats. We also considered the impacts of climate change through an assessment of increased flows under more extreme runoff events. The preferred solution includes an enhanced, reinforced outlet structure consisting of an earthen berm and concrete culverts for flow controls at the existing farm crossing of the creek, immediately downstream of the existing wetland.”

The proposed outlet structure established a key constraint for the alignment for the North-South Collector Road.  Various road alignments and intersection configurations were evaluated, with attention paid to active transportation facilities.  The preferred solution is a four-lane, urban cross-section with round-abouts at major intersections and multi-use trails.

Four alternatives were identified for the Sanitary Pumping Station. Four sanitary forcemain alignments were developed to connect a new pumping station to an existing sanitary sewer outlet and, ultimately, to the Preston Wastewater Treatment Plant.  This new Pumping Station will serve as an interim servicing solution, allowing the business park to develop ahead of the ultimate, long-term solution for the broader East Side Lands that will see a new gravity sewer extended from the Kitchener Wastewater Treatment Plant. At that time (20 year horizon), the pumping station and forcemain can be de-commissioned.

Combining the stormwater management, roadway, and sanitary forcemain and pumping station as one Class Environmental Assessment posed many challenges for the project team. Duane tells us, “The City acknowledged the complexities of the study at the start of the assignment, in particular, that we had to make planning and design decisions without having a clear understanding of what the ultimate land uses would be. We had to develop the Environmental Assessment report carefully to serve as the defining framework for the future development, yet allowing the design to be ‘tweaked’ as more details become known, without having to revisit the decisions of the EA study.” 

Associated Engineering’s on-time and on-budget delivery of this study allows the City of Cambridge and developers to move forward with developing the East Side Lands.