Post – By Irene Gentle
endorsed a staff recommendation urging "strong support" of the proposed
road is meant to link the Niagara area with Toronto, possibly by traveling
through Flamborough farmland to connect with either Hwy. 401, an expanded
Hwy. 403 or the 407 ETR in Burlington.
the province has argued that it is needed to ease congestion in the
corridor, the road has been vehemently opposed by many citizens. They
feel other options, such as transit, have been given a short shrift
in the debate.
objecting to the road include the grassroots Citizens Opposed to Paving
the Escarpment, as well as the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment,
an umbrella group of environmental organizations.
the city's endorsement comes on the heels of a CONE report urging,
among other things, an immediate halt on expressways and expressway
expansions, including the mid-peninsula hwy.
of COPE said the move "is disappointing." He noted that yesterday's
above seasonal temperatures should have given the city pause when
passing the report.
if we're going to get our first air quality warning, the first of
maybe 30 or 40," said the Troy resident. "I think Hamilton should
think about that."
report stated that the mid-peninsula highway is needed to address
congestion, economic growth and long term land use for the city. A
copy of the report will likely be forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation
Ontario as well as the Minister of Environment, area MPPs and MPs
as well as Niagara and Halton regions.
was responding to a Niagara Peninsula needs assessment study by the
province, which was supported fully by staff. But the proposed environmental
assessment terms of reference was not.
continued to raise concerns on the manner in which the environmental
review was conducted," read the report. In particular, staff objected
that transportation needs were looked at before environmental concerns.
Also, it charged that the MTO ignored environmental criteria found
in the Ontario Planning Act.
terms of reference has been released by the MTO, with an initial comment
deadline of mid-March.
public outcry led to an extension of that deadline to the end of this
month. Once all the comments are in, the MTO will forge a final terms
of reference to go before the MOE for vetting. That will usher in
another five-week comment period.
had a host of concerns about the draft TofR. They included uncertainty
about the flexibility of the process and that issues of water quality
do not go far enough.
is also hoping for broader public consultation than that permitted
by the public information meetings held by the province so far.
endorsing the needs assessment city staff seems to feel council will
have more of a say in the final product.
read the report "council would be providing a position with respect
to a total of 44 separate recommendations dealing with the improvements
to transportation systems in the Golden Horseshoe area."
a decision not to endorse the needs assessment would likely not change
the province's determination and thus is not recommended, said the
made little sense to Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy, who wondered
why the city is being asked to show strong support for something it
clearly has many concerns about.
are some logistical inconsistencies," she said.
against the endorsement, as did councillors Andrea Horwath and Tom
Jackson. Ward 14 Councillor Dave Braden, who has been a strong critic
of the road, was absent.
is more to come. A separate report to council asks the MTO to consult
directly with the public on the TofR and address their issues prior
to initiating the final study.
time, council would be asked to reaffirm its support of the needs
asks the MTO to fund a peer review panel to provide input.