care with potential crossings and interchanges on the Niagara Escarpment
is now being promised by the province for the proposed mid-peninsula
Ministry of Transportation will continue working through mid-peninsula
issues with Burlington, a spokesperson said Thursday.
going to try and flesh out in more detail what the changes mean,"
said Brian Kelcey. "We believe the mayor and council are underestimating
changes made on their behalf."
and Halton were suing over the highway's Environmental Assessment
Terms of Reference, but since the ministry withdrew that last week,
the legal action is on hold. Local politicians, who fear the new route
will be connected to Hwy. 407 in Burlington, could re-activate the
lawsuit when the revised EA Terms of Reference are filed.
big concern of the minister is he didn't want to resolve something
in court. He wanted to try and resolve this outside of court," said
Kelcey. "It seems silly not to make another try at this with the stakeholders."
said the ministry hopes to know when it will re-file by the end of
the summer. The key revisions include:
Taking best practice approaches to new crossings of the Escarpment
-- which could involve rock cuts -- or improvements to existing crossings.
includes possible tunnelling, and a commitment to locating interchanges
and transit stations outside the Niagara Escarpment Plan area.
would be a minimum number of exits when we build the highway or transit
corridor," said Kelcey. "The more interchanges you have, the more
disruption, and it's more likely to disturb what's in the way. We
want a project that does little damage and we're reducing the impact."
all proposed routes involve escarpment crossings, he added.
Setting out a special study area for the escarpment.
intention is if the route comes close enough to be a concern, it would
come under the terms of the study area," said Kelcey.
Acknowledging other planning initiatives under way that will affect
the EA, such as development of a Goods Movement Strategy for Central
Ontario and the Transit Opportunities Study.
Kelcey warned a mid-peninsula transportation corridor will still be
much you increase transit capacity, there will be a lot of traffic
through freight and commercial transportation, and it's traffic that
transit cannot pick up," he said. "There are no major alternatives
that wipe out the need."
Making further commitments to extensive consultations with local municipalities
and other stakeholders, ensuring the NEP and other relevant policies
are incorporated into the process.
Clarifying that any routes carried forward for evaluation will not
be restricted to conceptual corridors.
flexible," said Kelcey. "There may be another angle to hit for a route
and if someone volunteers that, we'll let them."
ministry had a very thorough needs assessment and doesn't plan on
revisiting that stage, said Kelcey.
point we have to ask ourselves is, are we going to consult over the
same content with the same results," he said. "You would not see results
that are terribly different."
Frank Klees said his transportation ministry has always been open
to input on the environmental assessment for the mid-peninsula transportation
noted Burlington and Halton chose to appeal to the courts rather than
allow the environmental process to follow its normal course.
Burlington and Halton seem to believe that the congestion we face
today, let alone what we face tomorrow, can be addressed without a
mid-peninsula transportation corridor," said Klees. "The Eves government
believes that taxpayers shouldn't see their hard-earned dollars be
wasted on unnecessary and protracted litigation."
Burlington councillor said a court decision in a Napanee case forced
the transportation ministry to reconsider its position.
need a full environmental assessment and this will require us to go
back to the needs assessment stage," said John Taylor. "We could've
done this earlier by splitting it into two parts."
noted Burlington has sought a proper needs assessment since February,
details of the revised EA Terms of Reference may be jumping the gun,
councillor said previous submissions did not mention tunnelling and
he doesn't believe the ministry is guaranteeing protection of lands
within the special study area.