GOVERNMENT ADDS NEW THREAT TO NIAGARA ESCARPMENT IN HALTON
Ontario – The Eves government has added a new threat to the Niagara
Escarpment in Halton by the introduction of Bill 25, Smart Transportation
Act, 2003, said Barbara Sullivan, Liberal candidate in the Halton
Bill will have a direct impact on the government’s ability to push the
Mid Peninsula Highway through the Niagara Escarpment in Halton,"
said Sullivan. "Requirements for a full Environmental Assessment
are slashed and the only E.A. required would be for the actual building
of the road."
introduced Bill 25 under the guise of amendments to the Highway Traffic
Act requiring drivers to obey signs on paved shoulders, authorizing
new regulations for high occupancy vehicle lanes, introducing a smart
card system that does not include all the GTA, and giving police officers
the powers to remove vehicles from a public highway.
of being upfront about the provisions in the Bill, the Eves government
buried the part of the Bill that has the most significant implications
for people in Halton," said Sullivan.
is further evidence of the duplicity of a government that holds our
democratic process in contempt. Just like the ‘Magna Budget’, the Eves
government is attempting to avoid scrutiny for its actions," Sullivan
gives the Minister of Transportation unique responsibility for all infrastructure
corridor plans relating to transportation, with unprecedented powers
to prepare plans for major roads, and to accept or reject proposals
for change. After the rubber stamping of Cabinet, the Minister’s decision
said the Mid Peninsula Highway requires a full Environmental Assessment
with extensive analysis and detailed studies. Under this new Act, detailed
work would no longer be required.
Niagara Escarpment is a vital part of our natural and national heritage,
and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The people of Halton demand nothing
less than a full Environmental Assessment of the Mid Peninsula Highway,"
said Sullivan. "Under Bill 25, the Minister will have the unique
power to cut a new swathe through this unequaled ecosystem, based not
on facts but on expediency."
Barbara Sullivan 905-854-4366
7 2003, the Eves government introduced Bill 25, Smart Transportation
Act, 2003, an Act to enhance public transit and provide for a smart
transportation system in Ontario.
will amend the Ontario Planning and Development Act to enable government
to develop plans for future infrastructure corridors. The Minister states
"This is an important tool in the integration of land use and transportation
planning, to support continued growth and to maintain options for the
future". The Bill also allows for the creation of provincial agencies
to coordinate transportation across regions with services such as a
multi-system transit fare card; bus bypass lanes; carpool lots; and
in his statement introducing the Bill states, "Several new inter-regional
transportation corridors are in the planning stage, each with an eye
to multi-modal solutions, including highways, transit and rail."
for full Environmental Assessments are slashed with the final decision
making power handed to the Minister and Cabinet.
full Environmental Assessment, proposals for a project such as
the Mid Peninsula Highway would require extensive analysis and detailed
studies concerning the environment that would be directly or indirectly
affected; environmental effects caused by the project, the actions necessary
to prevent, change, mitigate or remedy the effects on the environment;
alternatives to the undertaking; alternative methods for the undertaking;
and an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages to the environment.
Bill 25 removes the necessity of this work, and the Minister would be
able to proceed with a minimal ‘survey’ of environmental, physical,
social and economic conditions.
using the Mid Peninsula Highway as an example, if Bill 25 is passed,
the route could be selected and approved by the Minister with his decision
rubber stamped by Cabinet. Citizens would have limited input into the
decision making process.
Escarpment is a unique environmentally-based land use plan,
encompassing some of Ontario’s most cherished places, including Rattlesnake
Point and Kelso Conservation Area in Halton. In 1985, the Ontario government
passed the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the land use plan for the 183,311
hectares (452,981 acres) of Escarpment land. The purpose of the Plan
is "to provide for the maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment and
land in its vicinity substantially as a continuous natural environment,
and to ensure only such development occurs as is compatible with
that natural environment." It was designated a UNESCO World
Biosphere Reserve in 1990.
Authorized by the CFO for Halton Liberal Association