Delegation to Halton Council

November 24, 2004

Delegation to Halton Council

Re:  Joint Regional-Local Submission of Draft Provincial Greenbelt Plan and Related Legislation

Thank you for the opportunity to present our position to you regarding the joint report on the draft Greenbelt Plan.

Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment’s (COPE) primary focus is stopping the ill-conceived Mid Peninsula Highway; therefore my comments will mainly address the report's infrastructure section.

 Although COPE has some concerns with the plan, in general we do support the provincial governments Greenbelt initiative.

COPE’s primary concern is the Niagara to GTA Transportation Corridor, which bears a striking resemblance to option “C” of the Mid Peninsula Highway.  The inclusion of the highway at the onset, when the need has yet to be substantiated, is disturbing. 

COPE agrees with recommendation #4 of the report.  That public consultation regarding the Greenbelt Plan be extended to co-ordinate with the Growth Management Plan.  We also recommend that both plans should be considered in concert with the Transportation Master Plan currently being crafted by the province.  To date, COPE has not seen the Transportation Plan, but we understand that, by its very nature, it will affect infrastructure planning on the Niagara Escarpment.

Regarding the memo to council dated November 15, 2004 and purposed changes to recommendation 11.6, COPE encourages council to put forward the recommendation as amendments as well as consider the following points:

Section 4.2.1 – second bullet

  • COPE believes the definition of “essential” needs to be clearly defined.
  • COPE believes the definition of “linear infrastructure facility” needs to be clearly defined.

Section 4.2.1 – 4th paragraph

  • COPE believes it is inappropriate for specific examples to be sited in the Greenbelt plan before establishing need and the completing a full environmental assessment.  We strongly support the recommendation to remove the Niagara to GTA corridor, as well as other specific corridors, from the report.
  • COPE believes a statement enshrining the government’s commitment to completing full environmental assessment for infrastructure proposals such as the Niagara to GTA corridor should be included in the plan and legislation as well as a statement clearing giving weight and commitment to developing alternate modes of transportation first.  This would include giving priority to and proper consideration for transit, rail and marine first.

COPE agrees with the report's conclusion that the public consultation process could and should be improved.  The public and groups such as COPE have had very little time to digest and comment on the Greenbelt Plan.  Furthermore, the workshops are scheduled during the day.  Without reasonable notice it is difficult, if not impossible, for citizens who are otherwise employed, to arrange attendance at these workshops.

COPE’s final concern that I will address today is that the big picture may be lost in the detail.  The big issue of the impact of infrastructure projects on our health has not been addressed in the Greenbelt Plan.  Our habit of building highways has cost us in unforeseen ways.  The resulting pollution has affected our environment and our health.  We need to ensure that before building new infrastructure on the Greenbelt, we can answer the question “is it Healthy for those living in the vicinity and will the project further degrade the environment?”  We know from various studies that highway pollution causes respiratory diseases including asthma.   It has also been linked to heart disease and pollutes our water supply.  Noise pollution is also a serious issue that needs to be considered in the human health factor.

 Paramount to all plans must be this question:  Is it Healthy for all humans and other life forms?  Ironically, the issue of health is factored into most other decisions.  Why not the building of highway infrastructures?

That concludes my presentation for today.  Thank you for your attention.

Presented By
David Bailey
Co-Chair
Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment

 

 

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