Brakes eased on proposed mid-peninsula project?

September 5, 2003 - Dennis Smith, Special to the Flamborough Review

The gridlock over the proposed mid-peninsula highway may be easing up.

Consensus has been reached on two of three key issues concerning the mid-peninsula transportation corridor, Burlington's mayor said yesterday.

"We've made very good progress although we haven't completely reached an agreement," said Rob MacIsaac. "But we've come a long way. Now we have five pages of amendments on the terms of reference."

Transportation Minister Frank Klees met with MacIsaac as well as Niagara and Hamilton officials recently to try and jumpstart mid-peninsula plans.

He said parties involved will continue communicating via e-mails, letters and telephone conferences.

"We've agreed to provide our input within a week," said MacIsaac. "We'll likely need to call a special council meeting in a week."

The mid-peninsula project, whose key feature is a proposed highway between Niagara and Hamilton/Halton, was stalled earlier this summer.

Burlington officials fear it will be connected to Hwy. 407 in Burlington. Burlington and Halton filed a lawsuit over the plans, prompting the province to withdraw the Terms of Reference for its Environmental Assessment.

MacIsaac said there was agreement to establish an advisory group to allow for all stakeholders to have input as the process moved forward and to have rail and transit alternatives added into the Terms of Reference.

He said the third point still being negotiated is to ensure the Niagara Escarpment receives the appropriate level of protection in the Terms of Reference.

"Hopefully we will reach agreement on that," said MacIsaac. "We're doing all we can to advocate for no new cuts in the escarpment."

The lawsuit has been held in abeyance, but there's no agreement yet to fully withdraw it, he said.

In the legal action, it was argued that unreasonable suggestions have been made for creating the mid-peninsula highway and the planning process has shown little regard for Halton residents' interests.

Ministry officials have described the project as the mid-peninsula transportation corridor and say it could include a new highway, transit way or both.

They have warned a highway may be needed to serve major increases forecast for population and traffic growth between Toronto and Niagara.

Four choices are being considered for the local connection with the mid-peninsula highway, including Hwy. 407 near Walker's Line, an expanded Hwy. 403 on Hamilton Mountain, Hwy. 401 west of Milton and Hwy. 6 in Flamborough.

Critics say the highway will be a toll road costing more than $1 billion that will damage the environment while failing to alleviate traffic congestion.

Though Hamilton council approved the idea of the road, it has met with fierce grassroots opposition, including that of a 1,000-strong Citizens Against Paving the Escarpment.

Contact COPE:

©copyright 2002 - 2012 COPE

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