significance of the Niagara Escarpment is abundantly clear to
everyone in our region and that's why the placement of the Mid-Peninsula
Transportation Corridor has sparked so much interest in Halton.
my cabinet and Queen's Park career I have consistently supported
and upheld recommendations from the Niagara Escarpment Commission
(NEC). At the first public meeting held last September, I publicly
stated "the highway should not cut through the escarpment."
My position, shared by city staff, was that alternate routes
should be studied and the escarpment route be rejected.
was also clear that Niagara region had more input than Halton
region. Our citizens deserved equal input into the process.
Mayor Rob MacIsaac, Halton Region, Citizens Opposed to Paving
the Escarpment (COPE), CONE (and recently, the Burlington Chamber
of Commerce) and I supported more public consultation, more
in-depth study of alternate routes and splitting the environmental
assessments into two separate study areas -- Niagara-to-Hamilton
transportation minister Norm Sterling agreed to our request
for more public consultations and consideration of three alternate
a series of six public meetings, our concerns remained with
this process. I agree with Mayor MacIsaac's comments -- this
is not a question of whether there's a need for a highway; this
is about due process.
transportation minister Frank Klees granted our request for
a 30-day extension of the Environmental Assessment Terms of
Reference (EA) review, allowing the city time to prepare its
case. Klees wouldn't agree to a separate environmental assessment
June 16, the City of Burlington and Halton filed an application
for judicial review of the highway planning process. The next
day, Ontario's Divisional Court ruled on a precedent-setting
case determining that the minister of the environment does not
have the authority under the amended Environmental Assessment
Act to approve a pared-down EA (essentially the city's case).
Having done my homework, I advised the minister's staff and
rose in the legislature asking minister Klees to read this new
court ruling before proceeding.
community and I continue to hold the belief that the province
hasn't sufficiently examined the environmental impacts of building
a new highway along the escarpment. We argue that the province
is breaking environmental law by moving forward with this EA.
I have consistently supported the concerns of my community and
the concerns of COPE and CONE. I again ask the Minister to reconsider
proceeding with this mid-peninsula EA and get back to the table
with the City of Burlington and Halton."
Klees has publicly stated the city is going to lose its court
case before he even read the recent court ruling. My defence
of the escarpment is well-known amongst the NEC, my community
and colleagues. Minister Brad Clark's personal attack on my
comments in cabinet and attempt to discredit my position is
both inappropriate and inaccurate.
transportation corridor won't be built for 10-12 years. We owe
it to the citizens of Halton and our environment to ensure it's
Jackson is the MPP for Burlington.