is giving the province 48 hours to meet its demands on the mid-peninsula
highway planning process, or the city will meet the province in
city and Halton Region were set to go to court last week but put
their action on hold when the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) indicated
it could meet their concerns. Negotiations led to concessions by
the province but Mayor Rob MacIsaac calls them meaningless.
mid-peninsula highway document obtained by The Spectator shows the
province is willing to add studies to the highway planning process
and to make the Niagara Escarpment route a special study area to
minimize the highway's impact on it.
concessions don't cut it for MacIsaac or council.
council voted unanimously last night to give the MTO until Thursday
to meet the city's concerns, or the legal challenge to the province's
highway planning process will proceed.
know what we want. They'll just have to fish or cut bait," MacIsaac
said earlier yesterday.
Burlington wants is a full environmental assessment (EA). It means
examining social, economic and natural land effects of the highway.
It also means studying alternatives, such as widening existing highways
or creating superior rail and public transit systems. The ministry's
shortened environmental assessment won't do this.
MTO appears ready to change that, suggesting in the document that
several provincial studies be added as "an integral part" of the
EA. These include studies on transit opportunities and goods movement.
called this a "very minor concession" and insufficient.
still have not agreed to a robust investigation of other forms of
transportation through Halton that we think are necessary."
fact the MTO is including the studies just now is a testament to
how valid Burlington's concerns are and how short-sighted the province
is being, he said.
shows how myopic the MTO has been to this point."
also wants assurances the Niagara Escarpment in Burlington will
remain untouched by the highway.
MTO proposes in the confidential report to make the Niagara Escarpment
route a special study area.
they really have an appreciation for the Niagara Escarpment, why
not give it the same attention as the tender fruitlands (in the
Niagara Peninsula), where they won't consider building the highway?
don't they give the internationally acclaimed World Biosphere escarpment
-- a treasure -- the same consideration?" The United Nations has
designated the Niagara Escarpment a World Biosphere Reserve.
20 is the deadline for public comment on the terms of reference
for an environmental assessment, the next major step in planning
mid-pen, from Fort Erie to Burlington, has aroused Burlington and
Flamborough residents and councillors to fight the highway in Halton
and particularly the original plan to have it cut across the Niagara
Escarpment and through the countryside to join the 407. The transportation
ministry has since added alternative routes, including one taking
the highway to the 401 near Campbellville.