Mid-peninsula highway
review deadline extended

Burlington Post, 03 / 14 / 03 Dennis Smith

There's a new transportation minister and suddenly a new planning timetable for the proposed highway from Niagara to Hamilton/Halton.

Frank Klees has extended the next deadline involving the mid-peninsula project's environmental terms of reference, which determines how to examine the highway route or its alternatives.

Local politicians were pleased the deadline of March 17 was extended to April 30 for a review period in the process.

"I'm encouraged that Minister Klees has listened to my concerns and those of the citizens of Burlington," said Burlington MPP Cam Jackson. "This transportation corridor has far-reaching implications and our government has demonstrated a willingness to be flexible, fair and consultative at every stage of this process."

Jackson said he met twice with the new minister to argue for more time. "I fully support the reasonable request by local citizens for an extension," he said.

A draft document and formal terms of reference are being developed, with public response times for these steps.

In a recent letter, Klees re-iterated the government's commitment to the mid-peninsula project. He said besides the ministry's consultation period, there will be five additional weeks for public comments through the government agency review process.

Burlington council members also sought the April 30 extension.

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor argued there were complex documents involved, which require more time for meaningful responses and public consultation.

"It is very encouraging that the new minister is listening to our MPP and to our local concerns," said the councillor.

Halton's chair said she was happy with the latest development.

"The extension is good news for the region," said Joyce Savoline.

Many Burlington and Flamborough residents have been vocal in opposing the highway.

A key concern is the route alternative linking the new road with Hwy. 407 near Walker's Line. It's believed that route would loop north of Waterdown, then angle back down the Niagara Escarpment into Burlington. Three other route choices are being considered.

The highway would likely run from Niagara to Hamilton's airport at Mount Hope, with the 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 or to Hwy. 6 in Flamborough.

Transportation planners have argued expanded transit, railways, and highways are all required to meet projected Golden Horseshoe growth of 2.5 million people in 20 years.

Many critics have argued the mid-peninsula highway will be very expensive, damaging to the environment and escarpment and still may not solve traffic problems.

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