highway: Needed road faces delay
bad it took the threat of a court challenge to help Transportation Minister
Frank Klees open his eyes to the concerns of Burlington and Halton around
the proposed mid-peninsula highway.
first sign the government is considering the possibility of exploring
the "smart" part of its Smart Growth development strategy instead of
concentrating solely on the "growth" part.
person might suggest the recent loss in court the province suffered
in a remarkably similar suit over telescoping the environmental assessment
process (in this case involving a landfill expansion) might have sharpened
the minister's thinking.
a mid-peninsula highway is sorely needed to relieve the ever-growing
traffic load clogging the QEW along the Niagara Peninsula.
a need to relieve congestion at the border to facilitate the movement
of trucks to and from the United States. And we believe a mid-pen highway,
as highways do, will spur economic growth in Niagara, in Hamilton and,
frankly, in Burlington.
assessment growth of Burlington and Halton has a lot to do with their
proximity and access to the QEW, the 403 east of Oakville and the 407.
the half-century of wrangling over the Red Hill Creek project so amply
demonstrates, ways to stop a project from happening are legion if people's
concerns are not adequately addressed.
days still as far as the mid-peninsula megaproject goes and the province
can congratulate itself on good progress made. After all, Niagara and
Hamilton have virtually signed on.
and Halton are balking at the prospect of the superhighway crossing
the escarpment and running into rural north Burlington just south of
Number One Side Road and then linking with the 407. Consequently, unless
the province unplugs its ears and steps up its communication and consultation,
Burlington and Halton will shut them out.
will be quick to point out the Burlington option, or "option C" as the
proposal flags it, is just one of three routes under consideration.
But few people consider options "A" and "B" -- hooking onto the 403
somewhere along the Ancaster hill or meeting Highway 6 south of Clappison's
Cut -- as, to use a military term, not much more than countermeasures
designed to hide one's true intentions.
must deal openly with Burlington's concerns even if it means a broader
assessment. Burlington and Halton have indicated their willingness to
work toward finding a solution. The province has signalled that the
terms of the project and assessment would be rewritten. Given the depth
of concern around the plan, those terms need to be drafted with all
parties at the table or we'll find ourselves back to square one with
a highway that doesn't go anywhere.