Deer Run Avenue Laneway Access Class Environmental Assessment FAQ

Why is the laneway off Deer Run Avenue closed?

The laneway at the bottom end of Deer Run Avenue occupies privately owned land.

When the subdivision was constructed in the 1980s, the subdivision agreement identified the laneway as temporary emergency access until the lands to the south developed and Deer Run Avenue extended eastward. To date, those lands have not been developed.

Although the laneway is not a municipal road, motorists were using it to access Winston Churchill Boulevard, raising concerns from the land owner who has sought to physically restrict the access.

Why did the town physically block off the laneway?

The town posted signs and contacted residents by mail in the spring of 2015 to advise them that the laneway was on private property and was intended for emergency use only however public use of the laneway continued. The town installed physical barriers to restrict public access and to ensure the laneway was only used for emergency access.

Why didn’t the town restrict public access to the road sooner?

The town restricted access when it became apparent that the written notification and posted signage was not preventing the public use of the laneway. To attempt to prevent potential land use conflicts among the land owner, the public, and the town, the town physically blocked off the laneway.

How long will it be closed for?

Council directed town staff to conduct an Environmental Assessment Study (EA) to determine a preferred a solution. Public access will be restricted until the EA process is complete.

What is an Environmental Assessment (EA)?

An Environmental Assessment (EA) is a mandatory, provincially legislated process used to evaluate solutions to an infrastructure problem or opportunity. It is a public process, and residents will have the opportunity to provide comments on the alternative solutions and the evaluation criteria used to choose the preferred alternative.

The EA process looks at the technical and engineering aspects of different alternatives, as well as the impacts and benefits of each alternative to the natural, social and economic environments. The EA process the town follows is the Municipal Engineers Association’s Class Environmental Assessment process. For details, review the Municipal Engineers Association’s Class Environmental Assessment guide.

When will the Deer Run Avenue EA be complete?

The length of time required to complete an EA depends on a number of factors, including the type of infrastructure being reviewed, the size of the study area, the environmental sensitivity of the area, the number and level of interest of the stakeholders, and the number and complexity of the alternative solutions being reviewed.

The Deer Run Avenue Class EA began November 2015. At the first public information centre on November 26, 2015 town staff had identified five alternatives that involve constructing a cul-de-sac and two alternatives that involve an extension of Deer Run Avenue. The EA process also required a do nothing alternative that would see no further action taken beyond the current public access restriction. The do nothing alterative is typically used as a benchmark for evaluating the other alternatives.

What happened at the first Public Information Centre?

On November 26, 2015 town staff presented the design options being considered as well as the proposed evaluation criteria.

The presentation materials are available on the Deer Run Avenue Laneway Access Class Environmental Assessment page.

How did staff evaluate the options to determine a preferred solution?

Staff evaluated all the proposed alternatives based on their impact to the natural, social, economic and technical environments, and by considering all the comments received from the public and stakeholders. Specific details about the evaluation criteria and how each option scored can be found in the Evaluation of Alternatives chart. (pdf, 222 KB)

What is the preferred solution that will be presented to Council for approval?

After conducting a comprehensive evaluation of all options, staff identified design option #2 as the preferred solution. The preferred solution would see the laneway made into a municipal road that extends Deer Run Avenue to Winston Churchill Boulevard.

How long will it take to build the road?

At this stage the town is not able to commit to a specific timeline. However, before construction begins, several steps have to happen first:

  1. The EA must be submitted for review and decision by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
  2. The preferred solution will need Council approval.
  3. The project will require budget approval to determine how it will be funded.
  4. The town will need to acquire the land that is currently privately owned.
  5. Construction will begin.

Will the laneway be reopened in the meantime?

Until a municipal road is constructed, the laneway will be maintained as emergency vehicle access only. The physical barriers restricting public access will remain up.

Can emergency vehicles still use the laneway?

Yes. The Oakville Fire department has confirmed that fire trucks can still use this emergency access laneway by either unlocking the chains or simply driving through them without impacting response time. Regional police and ambulance services have confirmed that they will use the municipal road network to respond to incidents within this neighbourhood and along Deer Run Avenue.

How will the closure impact winter maintenance and snow removal?

Winter maintenance will be conducted to ensure that fire trucks can still use the emergency laneway. Snow clearing services on Deer Run Avenue and surrounding streets will not be impacted by the closure of the laneway.

How will large vehicles turn around?

Signage has been installed and maps will be updated to advise drivers that there is no exit from Deer Run Avenue to reduce the number of vehicles seeking through passage. All trucks have established safety protocols to use if they must reverse along a roadway. Municipal and regional trucks will follow their standard protocols for dead end streets to safely reverse down the road if required.

The town has contacted Google Maps to have the emergency laneway removed from its maps. This will help reduce the number of out-of-town drivers and trucks navigating by GPS from reaching the bottom of Deer Run Avenue and needing to turn around.

How can I participate in the Class Environmental Assessment?

You can participate in the Class EA by reviewing the website for project materials, contacting ServiceOakville with questions or to provide information, attending the public meeting, reviewing the final report, or attending the Council meeting when the final report is complete.

Residents and stakeholders can comment on the Problem/Opportunity Statement, the evaluation criteria, the evaluation matrix, the potential solutions and the selection of the final solution.

Can I object if I don’t like the final recommendation?

The EA recommendation will be brought to Council for review and consideration. Should you not be supportive of the final recommendation of this study, you may want to appear as a delegate and voice your opinion to Council. You will need to follow this study to remain informed as to the date the study recommendation moves to Council.

The EA is a legislated process intended to resolve issues through a formal public/stakeholder consultation process that develops and assesses options and resolves to a preferred solution. If you feel that the “process” was not in keeping with that defined under the EA Act, you may object to the study by submitting a Part II Order Request to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change once the Notice of Completion has been filed. Details regarding the Part II Order Request process will be included in the Notice of Completion.

Who do I contact with questions about this project?

Please contact ServiceOakville at serviceoakville@oakville.ca or 905-845-6601.

Do I have to go to the public meeting in order to provide comments?

No. Comments are welcome at any point through this process. You can provide comments by attending the public meeting, or by contacting the town’s project manager. There will also be opportunities for residents to provide comments when the final report is presented to Council.

How can I receive updates about the project?

Please contact ServiceOakville and ask to be added to the Deer Run EA mailing list. You can also check the town's website for project information. All residents in the immediate area of Deer Run Avenue will also receive notices of public meetings by mail.

How do I let town staff or members of Council know how I feel about this project?

You may contact your ward Councillors, or ask to make a presentation to Council when they are reviewing the final staff report on this project.

Have there been any reports to Council on this issue?

Staff have submitted reports regarding Deer Run Avenue to Council’s Administrative Services Committee.