4.5 Identification of Sources of Impact and Assessment of Concerns

An analysis of anticipated impacts on natural resources raises concerns that the restoration of buildings, landscape work and the implementation of self-guided tours could potentially have negative impacts on the environment, particularly the vegetation. Because of the small area covered by the site, the tourist trade in the region and the access control problem, usage of the site will be all the more unpredictable and during the busy season it will become more difficult to confine visitors to the areas intended for their use. In addition, the thin layer of glacial till maintaining the Cape Bonsecours forest populations renders that area fragile, especially because of the likelihood of erosion on the steep slopes.

Furthermore, it is important to note that poison ivy is growing in certain areas of the property and thus poses a danger of skin irritations to both visitors and the researchers and maintenance personnel working on the site.

The negative impacts anticipated on cultural resources are also cause for concern but these impacts are mitigatable. There is considerable concern over proposed landscaping interventions aimed at developing a certain degree of continuity between the cultural landscape of the past and the current process for presenting that landscape. The period of time between these two active “eras” has seen some deterioration in the cultural resources, including the cultural landscape. With that context in mind, and based on the findings of ethnohistorical, archaeological and other studies conducted, we will have to ensure that all elements that define the spirit of the place are protected and restored by renewing the association between built heritage and its particular landscape setting.

Should Parks Canada eventually reach an agreement that would allow the construction of a parking lot on the property between Montebello station and Manor House Road, it goes without saying that such a development would have an impact on the densely wooded environment. Environmental impact studies will need to be conducted and mitigation measures will have to be determined prior to the design phase of building this parking area.

In addition, projected presentation work could have negative secondary effects on cultural landscapes if appropriate measures are not strictly applied to protect the landscaping elements during the work (for example, the comings and goings of heavy machinery and the removal of waste material). Some of the archaeological resources could be threatened by the circulation of vehicles, invasive vegetation (the icehouse, for example), construction work nearby and landscaping work if proper measures are not taken. Archaeological resources that have not yet been found are vulnerable in that they are not visible on the surface of the ground and therefore cannot be protected as would normally be the case.

The eventual implementation of public transportation in the form of a shuttle bus could have a negative impact on the protection and presentation of the cultural heritage of the site (erosion, conflict with pedestrian traffic, parking, noise, dust, etc.), if proper steps are not taken.

Lastly, the conservation and security of original furnishings and objects that will be used in the presentation of the manor house is a concern that has already been addressed.

Mitigation measures have already been proposed, including having visitors be accompanied by interpretive guides.

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