Reduce speed of highway plan: council

Dennis Smith - The Burlington Post
Feb 5, 2003

City council members want mid-peninsula highway planners to ease up on the throttle. Burlington's mayor is seeking a consensus among municipalities about how planning should proceed for the proposed highway between Niagara and Hamilton or Halton.

"We want to make sure the process is followed comprehensively," Rob MacIsaac said in an interview. "The Burlington section of the corridor has not received adequate study."

He was authorized Monday by council to negotiate and sign a memorandum of understanding concerning the proposed highway's environmental assessment process.

MacIsaac was hoping to have it signed this week by representatives of Halton and Niagara regions, plus Hamilton.

"Whether you're for or against the highway, a good process is important," he said. "Our feeling has always been the Burlington portion of the route was an afterthought that hasn't received proper attention. We think the province needs to slow down and back up."

MacIsaac said the environmental assessment's terms of reference (determining how to examine the route or its alternatives) could be completed any time. He said this lends urgency to having a memorandum of understanding soon, but admitted Burlington has little control over when other municipalities sign it.

"We hope to get it soon or not get it at all," said the mayor.

MacIsaac added it will be easier for provincial officials to do what they want with the highway proposal if municipalities are not in agreement.

Some details of the memo are confidential, but a city report states the recommended approach is aimed at completing the environmental assessment in a "comprehensive, transparent, inclusive and timely manner."

A connection with Hwy. 407 in Burlington was suggested during last year's needs assessment phase for the highway. Local politicians complained the original proposed route stopped at Hwy. 6 and then Burlington and Halton officials were not consulted about the route change.
Ministry of Transportation officials have since proposed three possible highway connections for upcoming study phases -- Hwy. 407 near Walker's Line in Burlington, Hwy. 401 west of Milton or an expanded Hwy. 403 in Hamilton.

Other councillors strongly supported the memorandum of understanding on Monday.

"It will have a dramatic and beneficial effect on the study," said John Taylor. "There are some very good principles in the letter; things that we are fighting for now."

Ward 6 Councillor Carol D'Amelio said highway planners need all the background available to make good decisions.

"They've been working on something that is not complete and playing by rules that are not there."

The latest public information meeting for the proposed highway was slated for last night (Tuesday) at the Burlington Holiday Inn.

Another session will be held tomorrow at Rockton World's Fairground, 812 Old Hwy. 8 in Rockton. It will run from 3-9 p.m., with a presentation at 6:30 p.m.

Contact COPE:

©copyright 2002 - 2012 COPE

The COPE website was updated October 30, 2012
Website design and hosting by Virtual Image Hamilton: