Statement from the Minister of Transport on the Lac-Mégantic bypass
The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, issued today this statement on the Lac-Mégantic bypass:
"We will always remember July 6, 2013, and the 47 victims of this tragedy. In 2018, our government committed to building a bypass to get trains out of downtown Lac-Mégantic. The construction of the Lac-Mégantic bypass remains a priority.
"Given the scale of the project, it was undeniable that it would require several years of work, including determining the route, conducting environmental studies and acquiring the parcels of land needed for the project. We are now at a crucial moment as we hope to start construction as soon as possible, especially since it will be the 10th anniversary of the tragedy next July.
"An important step forward is the acquisition of land for the bypass. Although we have signed agreements with several impacted owners, including the Town of Lac-Mégantic, there are still agreements that have not been finalized.
"After postponing the end date of negotiations three times to allow impacted owners more time to properly analyze their offer, to use the services of experts, and to obtain reports related to the value and sale of their property, the Government of Canada informed the owners impacted by the acquisition of parcels of land on Friday that it would not extend the mutual negotiation period beyond January 13, 2023. For those who have signed an offer to purchase with the Government of Canada, note that these agreements remain valid.
"Since October 2021, landowners impacted by the land acquisition process have been able to meet with Government of Canada officials at the designated office in downtown Lac-Mégantic. Transport Canada also held two public consultations in 2022 as part of the project, including a public consultation on hydrology and measures to mitigate potential impacts of the project, from October 24 to November 25, 2022. Citizens and impacted owners who wanted to learn about the project and ask questions were also able to do so during the "open house" session on November 8 or during the virtual session on November 9.
"We are therefore taking a new step today, even if it is a difficult step, since we would have liked to finalize all the agreements by mutual negotiation. Transport Canada will continue to make every effort in the next steps by sharing information and responding to resident's concerns. This is to ensure the best possible integration of the project into the community.”
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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