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