Dennis Smith - The Burlington Post
in mid-peninsula highway planning are angering critics who say they
can't keep up to speed.
connection option and possible usage as a truck route are new developments
for the proposed highway from Niagara to Hamilton/Halton.
transit, railways and roadways are all required to meet projected Golden
Horseshoe growth of 2.5 million people in 20 years, information meeting
participants were told Tuesday evening.
in population will be so profound that any subset of these will be incapable
of addressing long-term transportation needs and the long-term economic
prosperity of the province," said Paul Hudspith, a Ministry of
Transportation consultant. "We need to proceed now with mid-peninsula
management of transportation systems is also needed to meet trade and
transportation growth, plus increased congestion expected for the area.
meeting it was confirmed a fourth alternative -- connecting with Hwy.
6 -- has been added to the needs assessment. This connection would require
widening of Hwy. 6 and Hwy 403. This alternative was previously considered
awkward, because it's less direct and connects to a very busy highway,
a ministry information officer said "The City of Burlington asked
to put it back in," said Will MacKenzie.
mid-peninsula highway runs to Hamilton's airport at Mount Hope, with
the route alternatives extending from there. The three other choices
include connecting the road to an expanded Hwy. 403 on Hamilton Mountain,
Hwy. 401 west of Milton and Hwy. 407 near Walker's Line.
response time for highway planning phases was a major concern at this
week's meeting at Burlington Holiday Inn.
was demanded for the environment assessment terms of reference, which
determines how to examine the route or its alternatives. Currently,
the public has until March 17 to respond to the draft document and approximately
April 30 to reply to the formal terms of reference.
documents require more time for meaningful responses and public consultation,
said Burlington councillor John Taylor.
noted it's an important phase. "If someone comes up with a great
idea, it could not be considered because it's not within the terms of
reference." he noted.
MPP said he'll seek an April 30 response deadline for the draft terms
of reference. And there would be another 30 days afterwards for responding
to the formal document.
"The request it reasonable," said Cam Jackson. "This
has far-reaching implications."
of Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment (COPE) handed out 250 surgical
masks, which were briefly worn by some meeting participants. COPE's
co-chair expressed amazement at Transportation Minister Norm Sterling's
announcement about tolling trucks on the QEW after the mid-peninsula
highway is completed.
doesn't mind having hundreds of trucks spewing exhaust through Burlington,
Hamilton and Flamborough," said Bob Williams.
COPE is not necessarily against the highway, but it opposes the circumventive
way it's being planned.
demanded transportation planners wait for Smart Growth recommendations
and conduct a brand new needs assessment study which includes the Greater
COPE members also noted the environmental assessment won't examine need
for the highway, just route alternatives.
officials say a full environmental assessment is being held.
Senior planner Bill Rhamey noted the ministry has held an unprecedented
15 public meetings so far.
be very intensive consultations to identify what transportation needs
are in the area," he said. "We believe we need both transit
and highway improvements."
participants argued the project will create more problems than it solves.
new highway will not solve traffic congestion," said Whitney Rodricks
of Environmental Defence Canada. "Developers will buy land near
the highways and more housing means more sprawl and more congestion.
We need good regional transportation planning."
called for comprehensive air pollution impact studies for the project.
"It's naive to assume that putting the highway further from people
will solve the air pollution problem," he said.