and Halton have had enough - they are taking the province to court
over its proposed mid-peninsula highway.
way it is being pushed through by the province is highly disrespectful
to the people of Halton," said Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac.
and the city say that, despite the Ministry of Transportation's (MTO)
public meetings, their calls for more in-depth study have been virtually
ignored. The research they want includes examining other methods of
reducing traffic congestion - such as giving Hamilton full-day GO
service into Toronto - and the full environmental impact of the highway.
Halton council joined forces with Burlington to take legal actiont
o stop the highway. Councillors are especially concerned because Premier
Ernie Eves is promising in his party's election platform to build
are also concerned his government has recently introduced a bill,
Bill 25, which will exclude new highway planning from having to undergo
an environmental assessment.
the municipalities are asking the MTO to go back to the beginning
and start the process over "in a way that is fair to Burlington,"
there are other palatable solutions for the province, such as splitting
the environmental assessment in two -- one for Burlington, and one
for Hamilton and Niagara, where the politicians favour the highway.
said Halton's move adds a great deal of strength to Burlington's case.
very pleased we're not standing alone.
chairman Joyce Savoline said, "We've had opportunity to make comment,
but it's already after the fact (after the ministry has decided)."
were incensed the ministry first proposed that the highway route through
Halton would cut across the Niagara Escarpment down through environmental
and rural lands in north Burlington to join the toll Highway 407 at
eventually relented and added alternative routes to study.
council, meanwhile, has already told the province it strongly supports
the proposed midpeninsula highway. The road is predicted to spur economic
development and reduce traffic congestion, a plus for attracting new
court action is disappointing for Neil Everson, executive director
of Hamilton's economic development department.
will delay it," he said. "From an economic development perspective,
we think the highway is very important ... we'd like to see it built
sooner rather than later."
Creek councillor Larry Di Ianni understands the concerns in Burlington
and Halton, but says: "I just hope we don't end up in an expensive
legal wrangle over process ... We all know from bitter experience
(with the Red Hill Creek Expressway) that if you don't get the process
right from the start, it will really draw out."
and Halton say their portion of the highway was an afterthought and
they weren't consulted when the MTO was studying whether the highway
said the process for getting the Red Hill approved was a long and
exasperating 50 years. He hopes legal action prompts the province
to take real action on route concerns.
Bill Kelly sympathizes.
have some serious questions about process and their input being ignored."
Hamilton, despite endorsing the highway, has concerns similar to Flamborough's
he said the midpeninsula highway "is something we desperately need
... It's one of the key components to our economic development strategy."
and Halton's legal action requests a court order prohibiting the Ministry
of the Environment from approving the MTO's terms of reference for
an environmental assessment.
now concentrates studies on the best routes for the proposed $1.5-billion
highway between Fort Erie and Burlington.
is seeking a "scoped" environmental assessment in its next step toward
getting the highway approved.
assessment would look for the best routes that least harm the environment.
assessment, which is what Burlington and Halton want, takes much longer
and is more involved, but would examine all options, including improved
transit and rail travel.
said the two councils are most concerned that the ministry is leaving
out key elements in evaluating the need for the highway and its route.
are not looking at enhanced public transit as part of the solution
(to gridlock) here. It could negate the need for the highway.
concern is about the process MTO followed. It is flawed and has been
completely unfair, particularly in Burlington."
offices of the MTO and MOE would not comment.