Health Impact Assessment of Transportation Options to and from Georgina Island
Transportation isn't just about getting around—it profoundly influences our well-being. The November 2021 Health Impact Assessment (HIA) by Intrinsik Corp. for the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation (GIFN) takes a closer look at how transportation options affect the community's health, considering both current conditions and potential environmental changes.
Intrinsik Corp. (Intrinsik) was retained by the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation (GIFN) to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on available transportation options to and from Georgina Island (the Island). Please note that this HIA was not conducted for a proposed project, or as part of a provincial Environmental Assessment or federal Impact Assessment process. It was completed for the Chief and Council for the purposes of understanding how the current transportation options available to GIFN impact the health of the community.
Key findings from the assessment include:
- The current transportation option is aging (i.e., the Ferry)
- The Ferry runs for a longer duration every year and there have been increased costs associated with its repair and maintenance
- The Ferry is over capacity and community members face long wait times
- The Scoot is uncomfortable to ride, but it is the safest mode of transportation during the freeze-up and thaw seasons
- The Scoot is routinely replaced due to its overuse as a shuttle (really intended to be a search and rescue vehicle)
- The community members try to use the Scoot as little as possible as it is built mainly for search and rescue, and emergency purposes
- There are concerns about occupational health and safety for transportation workers due to weather and the pounding they take operating the Scoots, and it is becoming more difficult to maintain existing or hire new staff to operate these vessels
- The ice road is used during favourable ice conditions. However, the duration of the ice road season is reducing, which means there is more community reliance on the Scoot
- The ice road has inherent risks that are exacerbated by the changing climate and the unreliable mode of transportation has led to loss of life and stress within the community
- Improvements to the current transportation options can potentially be made by adding new infrastructure, replacing old infrastructure, or considering other options such as a bridge to connect the Island and the mainland.
The HIA's executive summary, presenting a comprehensive overview of these findings, highlights the intricate relationship between transportation and health. You can read the executive summary of the HIA here.
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