A possible route for Highway 69 south of Sudbury has some people concerned that lakes once contaminated by mining could become polluted again.

The provincial government is considering building the highway across Richard Lake and Daisy Lake, to meet up with Highway 17.

Laurentian University biologist Peter Beckett said fish and other wildlife are just now returning to the area.

He advised the province to instead four-lane the existing section of Highway 69.

"Twinning the existing highway, rather than having a separate highway is probably the better plan," Beckett said. "It puts all the disturbance in one area."

Look at different routes

All-terrain vehicle enthusiast Mike Mallory worries road salt and oil from the highway will get into the lakes, just as they start to bounce back from years of damage caused by mining industry fallout.

"We have to start looking at different routes around things that will have less of an impact," Mallory said.

Upcoming public meetings

  • Feb. 28, Colonial Inn in Coniston.
  • Feb. 29, Mine Mill campground on Richard Lake.
  • Feb. 30, Markstay Pentecostal Church.

Each meeting goes from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Beckett noted that construction crews digging around in the muck at the bottom of the lakes could also re-pollute them.

"If one is not careful, one could carry out processes that could release those metals from that wetland," Beckett said.

Another option is for the Ministry of Transportation to four-lane the existing highway south of Sudbury, and the ministry is expected to make a decision about a year from now. Construction could be as much as 20 years away.

Public meetings on the new route for Highway 69 and the Highway 17 bypass around Coniston and Wahnapitae will be held this week.

Route Planning and Environmental Assessment Study