Burlington ready to go to court over mid-peninsula

Residents fear urban sprawl Carmela Fragomeni -- The Hamilton Spectator Jun. 13, 03

Burlington's message to Transportation Minister Frank Klees about the mid-peninsula superhighway plan: We'll see you in court.

City council on Monday night gave the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) 48 hours to answer its demands to conduct a full and proper environmental assessment of the proposal, and for assurances the highway will not cut through the Niagara Escarpment in Burlington.

The ultimatum came after a last-ditch attempt by both sides to get Burlington's concerns resolved before heading to court. The effort, agreed upon at a ministry-called meeting, came after both Burlington and Halton Region councils decided the ministry just wasn't listening to them. Nor was it going to give them what they and their residents wanted.

The last-ditch attempt didn't work and now the ultimatum has failed to resolve anything. Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac said the ministry responded to the ultimatum yesterday morning, but it wasn't substantial enough. "It was not significant enough for us to abandon our rights to take the matter to court." He said the city and region had a small window of opportunity to take the matter to court.

It had to be done before the June 20 deadline set by the ministry to respond to its environmental terms of reference, the next step to getting the highway approved. If not, the city and region would forfeit their right to take the matter to court for a judicial review.

The court notice is expected to be filed today. MacIsaac said the city will still continue to talk with the ministry if it is willing to make the concessions.

Rosemarie Godina, executive assistant to Transport Minister Frank Klees, said last night that the minister considers the environmental assessment a very important part of the planning process, and hopes to continue to work with Burlington and Halton on it.

But, she said, "if they are planning to pursue the matter in court it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time."

The mid-peninsula highway is to run from Fort Erie to Burlington, although originally envisioned to stop in Hamilton. The extension into Flamborough and Burlington has angered residents and councillors in both communities, particularly because the preferred route has the highway cut through the Niagara Escarpment and rural countryside of north Burlington to the toll-charging 407 highway.

Residents fear it will bring more air pollution, create urban sprawl, destroy natural treasures like the Escarpment and, in so doing, cause a deterioration in their lifestyle.

Contact COPE:

©copyright 2002 - 2012 COPE

The COPE website was updated October 30, 2012
Website design and hosting by Virtual Image Hamilton: