Frequently Asked Questions
What is the extent of the community consultations DND has undertaken? Will there be more community engagement?
DND is committed to being open, honest, and transparent in its communication with the community to ensure the people of Eastern Passage understand what is being built and how it will affect them.
In March 2022, the first community engagement session took place with the public.
On October 28, 2022, a project update was completed on Trident News. On November 4, 2022, this was followed by a mass mail out to the local community.
Between November 17 and 25, 2022, the project conducted introductory phone calls with local leaders representing community groups such as hiking, birding, environment, etc. In addition, between December 12 and 16, 2022, the project offered in-person meetings with community groups.
Finally, the project organized a second Community Engagement Session on January 31, 2023.
We will continue to seek feedback from stakeholders on how to adjust our communications and work with the community to address concerns in the spirit of continuous improvement.
Why is this being built at Hartlen Point?
Land-Based Testing Facility site selection bulletin – click here.
How much will this project cost?
The estimated cost for this project is $129 million (including all elements required to deliver the project, not only the construction). This estimate is included in the $56 to $60 billion budget for the full CSC program.
Health and Safety of Emitters
Are there any potential risks to either human health or the environment from long-term operation of emitters at this facility?
The health and safety of Canadians and protection of the surrounding environment is our foremost priority. As such, we will take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of all, including the general public and defence team personnel, while building and operating the LBTF. We are also working with Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada to ensure the LBTF has all necessary licenses and authorities to operate safely at Hartlen point.
The operation of emitters at Hartlen Point will comply with Government of Canada, Department of National Defence, and Health Canada policies and directives to ensure these operations are safely managed.
Among these policies is Health Canada Safety Code 6, one of a series of safety codes that provides protection guidance for radio frequency devices. This policy is based on scientific studies and evidence that investigate potential biological and adverse health effects, including thermal and non-thermal effects and establishes exposure limits to ensure Radio Frequency emitting devices remain within their safety limits and don’t adversely affect the health and safety of personnel in the surrounding environment. These policies currently govern the operation of existing coastal Radio Frequency emitting facilities and sea going platforms, and will govern the LBTF emitter operation as well.
While we’re still examining the future impacts on our own future LBTF, there are a number of these types of facilities that are operated by our Allies across the world. Examples include the Maritime Integration and Support Centre in Portsmouth, UK, and the Combat System Engineering Development Site in Moorestown, NJ USA.
What environmental assessments have been done to date and have they been done by third party experts?
DND acknowledges and respects the thriving biodiversity and ecosystem at Hartlen Point.
On behalf of DND, third party, unbiased, experts have conducted a number of environmental studies over four seasons through. Public concerns regarding impact to environment, wildlife, and birds were taken into account. The following studies were done:
- Soil Characterization by SNC Lavalin (SNCL) – click here for the full-length report (English only).
- Wetland Assessment by Canadian British Consulting Limited (CBCL) – click here for the full-length report (English only).
- Bird and Bat Assessment by Canadian British Consulting Limited (CBCL) – click here for the full-length report (English only).
- Environment Effects Determination by Stantec – click here for the full-length report (English only).
What do the environmental assessments account for and how is accountability ensured?
An Environmental Effects Determination report is an independent, third-party study. It examines potential effects the project might have on the environment and the area where we’re planning to build, as well as what we may do to mitigate those impacts. Following the Environmental Effects Determination report is a standard part of DND infrastructure development, and it is conducted by a professional third-party. While general public input is not typically part of the Environmental Effects Determination report, we are working with all relevant regulatory bodies, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, to ensure we meet the required environmental legislation and regulations.
- The Environmental Effects Determination for the Land-Based Testing Facility project is now finalized and is available here.
Regarding accountability, DND is governed by the process as put forth by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, the agency that dictates how the Environmental Effects Determination is conducted. Additional information on the process is available here.
DND must also follow a variety of environmental legislation, policies, and guidelines. Those include:
- Impact Assessment Act
- Canadian Environmental Protection Act
- Fisheries Act
- Species At Risk Act
- Migratory Birds Convention Act
- Federal Sustainable Development Act
- Canada Labour Code (Part II – Occupational Health and Safety)
- CCME Environmental Quality Guidelines
- Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation
- Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation: Updated Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Legal Duty to Consult
- NS Environmental Protection Act
- NS Occupational Health and Safety Act
- NS Endangered Species Act
- Applicable Halifax Regional Municipality by-laws (i.e., N-200 Noise, S-600 Solid Waste Collection and Disposal, W-101 Wastewater Discharge)
- Guidelines for Disposal of Contaminated Solids in Landfills
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Survey Protocol for Species at Risk Bats within Treed Habitats (2017)
Department of National Defence (DND)
- DND Directive Regarding Environmental Impact Assessment (and Interim EIA Direction)
- DND Contaminated Sites Instruction CSI.004.001 Soil Management
- Aide-Memoire for DND Employees and CAF Members on the Common Law Duty to Consult with Indigenous Groups
- DND No Idling Policy
- Applicable MARLANT SEMS Directives (i.e., #E1 Spill Prevention and Reporting, #E2 Contaminated Sites Management, #E2 Annex A Protocol for Handling Impacted Soil)
- B-GL-381- 003/TS-000, Range and Unexploded Explosive Ordnance (UXO) Clearance Handbook
The Environmental Effects Determination report is completed in accordance with the cited regulations above, as well as input provided via the Town Hall from March 2022, regulatory stakeholder engagement and other stakeholder engagement. Other environmental baseline studies that have been conducted by various consultants at the site including bird, wetland and vegetation surveys, feed into the EED, as well as preliminary engineering input. The EED describes the project components and activities and assess potential effects on physical, biological and socioeconomic components. Mitigation (e.g., best management practices, adherence to DND directives) are proposed to reduce adverse effects and residual (post-mitigation) effects are characterized.
Finally, DND is collaborating with governmental regulatory authorities, including but not limited to Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Department or Fisheries and Oceans. DND legally must comply with these regulatory authorities.
Will construction and operations of the building increase traffic risks where it becomes a concern to residents and the public?
We recognize that there are concerns about increased traffic in the region and we take those concerns very seriously, especially the safety of our neighbors in areas where we build and operate.
As part of this project, we undertook a traffic study to determine the potential impacts on traffic in the area during construction, as well as when the facility is operational. The summary of results from the draft report was shared publicly at the January 31, 2023 Community Engagement Session. The report is in its final review phase and we expect to post it publicly in March.
The work remaining to finalize the report is administrative in nature and does not involve further technical assessment or investigation. As such, we wish to be clear that the results noted in the draft study will not change. The report has determined that this project is not likely to cause significant adverse traffic impacts. DND will ensure the mitigation measures recommended by the report to minimize traffic impacts are followed.
Near-shore and Coastal Access
Will construction or operation of this facility impact near-shore or coastal access?
Regarding coastal access, once the construction of the facility begins in late 2023, access to the immediate area around the facility will be restricted for operational security and public safety reasons. This could potentially include areas up to the water’s edge but is not expected to affect areas in the water. The details of what those security constraints will include are still being determined.
Once operational, there may be limited access during brief operational periods. However, there is no intent to set up a permanent exclusion zone at Hartlen Point once the facility is operational.
Email us about the project and subscribe to our email list to receive updates about the project at: CFBHalifaxPublicAffairs@forces.gc.ca