City must give province decision on mid-pen highway this week
05 Sep 2003 - Burlington
Post - Byline:
council was deciding last night (Thursday) whether to approve an
made between the province and municipal/regional governments to
terms of reference of environmental assessment (EA) for the
of the agreement were released to Burlington residents Wednesday at
information session at Mainway Arena. A second information session
for last night followed by a special council meeting where
elected officials were expected to vote on the recently
had until last night to inform the MTO of council's decision.
information session heard Leo DeLoyde, the city's general
development and infrastructure, call the agreement a positive
getting the Ministry of Transportation to consider concerns
residents have over the proposed highway between Fort Erie, Ont.
Greater Toronto Area.
movement on the part of the ministry to deal with the
issues of Burlington and Hamilton," he said. "We (City of
staff) recommend council approve it at this stage."
As of Wednesday
evening, city officials had yet to have written
of the agreement in principle reached last week between the
municipal governments of Burlington, Hamilton and regional
from Halton and Niagara.
terms of reference for the EA was submitted in May by the
City of Burlington and Halton Region staff and elected officials
much of what was proposed in it and in June the groups filed a
review of the terms of reference with Ontario Superior Court of
Ten days later MTO minister Frank Klees withdrew the original
and agreed to meet with stakeholders on the issue. That prompted
meetings that resulted in the agreement presented to the public.
of the agreement include:
Smart Growth solutions -- the MTO agreed to consider options to
in the mid-peninsula corridor. Options include widening existing
considering additional transit and rail alternatives.
data -- previous planning models used data from 1996. The MTO
use 2001 data that is the most up to date available.
committee -- MTO agreed to establish a new steering committee/
group to consult with the government. That group will likely
of elected officials from the concerned municipalities/regions and
of stakeholder groups including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce,
Opposed to Paving the Escarpment and the Ontario Federation of
boundary issues -- MTO agreed to account for Burlington's and
long-rang planning programs and urban-rural boundaries in EA
also called for improved turnaround times on information
the proposed mid-peninsula highway to allow the public sufficient
review documents and materials.
of Burlington attended Wednesday's session and was pleased
think they've made a significant move. Before it was a fait d'accompli
would be built," he said. "Now they seem to be more open to other
(like) do we even need a mid-peninsula highway?
the people of Burlington will be pretty happy with this. I
concerns expressed by some in attendance, however. One resident
whether this sudden softening in what had been a firm stance by
to push the highway through is part of a ploy to garner votes in
provincial election. Others wondered if a new minister would
agreement off the table after Oct. 2.
said since much of the MTO work is done by paid ministry staff who
their jobs regardless of the election's outcome, the agreement
to change after Oct. 2.