Burlington says Klees reneged on mid-pen alternatives
Sept. 17, 2003 Carmela Fragomeni The Hamilton
say Ontario's Transportation Minister Frank Klees is reneging on promises
he made to answer Burlington's concerns over the proposed mid-peninsula
MacIsaac and his senior staff won't say what promises Klees dropped.
But after a meeting with him in late August, they told residents through
public meetings that the minister promised, among other things, to have
the ministry seriously study alternatives to the highway -- such as
looking into a combination of widening current highways (which is planned
anyway), and improving rail and public transit.
ministry staff confirmed this was part of the agreement.
promised in August that he'd provide a written copy of the agreement.
But when it arrived last Thursday, it wasn't what councillors expected.
John Taylor said "it doesn't come anywhere close to what staff and the
mayor were expecting."
reached while on the election campaign, told The Spectator he made no
promise to look at alternatives to the highway, only to look at alternative
routes. He says the city misunderstood what was agreed on.
committed to building the highway."
comments were made before the written agreement reached the city, making
it clear this is a key discrepancy from what city officials say Klees
promised them earlier.
election is believed to have played a role here. The so-called verbal
promise came three days before the election call; the written version
arrived with the campaign in full gear.
Party's election platform, The Road Ahead, promises to build the mid-pen
through Niagara, Hamilton and Halton, and other highway projects "as
quickly as possible."
Ernie Eves reiterated this again Monday. That promise kills any study
and staff were buoyed in late August by what they said Klees promised:
to look at alternatives to the highway and to better protect the Niagara
Escarpment from being paved through. They said it was a good start and
that it showed Klees was willing to work with them on their concerns.
document from Klees' ministry on what was agreed on was a surprise and
disappointment to them.
has asked to meet with Klees again, but he can't because the election
campaign is in full swing. A minister's power is greatly limited during
the city held public meetings to discuss the verbal agreement, MacIsaac
won't release the written one. He is still hoping something can be worked
out after the election and -- "I don't think it would be helpful to
our negotiations ... it would inflame the situation unnecessarily."
staff won't release it.
also said "platforms can change after an election" in reference to what
could happen if the Conservatives were re-elected.
did take the province to court in June to force a comprehensive study.
But in good faith, it put the court action on hold after Klees promised
to try to meet its concerns.
however, said the city will not drop its court action until it is satisfied
its interests are secured.
is too much at stake."
and Flamborough residents are against the highway going through the
Niagara Escarpment. They fear the highway will create more urban sprawl,
air pollution and congestion, destroy valued natural land features like
the escarpment, and reduce quality and enjoyment of life.