Government is stuck in '50s thinking

RE: 'Hamiltonians invited to highway meeting' (Sept. 16). Sep. 21, 01:13 EDT

On Sept. 17, I sat and listened to presentations on the mid-peninsula highway at the Hamilton information meeting in Waterdown. Many, including me, have legitimate concerns for their property values and don't appreciate our concerns being dismissed under the NIMBY syndrome. There is a technical process in place that the city has been dealing with for over a year, yet we have been manipulated by the province into a close deadline in which our public input is scarcely paid attention to. I think I heard of the project last spring for the first time. Was there a campaign by the city to alert the population earlier than last spring? If not, why not?

What saddens and disappoints me most is the lack of progress. In the '50s when I grew up in Toronto, the 401 was touted as the ultimate bypass -- look at it now. In the '70s, the people of Toronto felt more of the same was simply wrong; they stopped the bulldozer jockeys and their Spadina Expressway.

Today, the Ontario transportation ministry will draw us into processes of technical debates and then environmental assessments that will consume our energy and have little effect on the fundamental outcome. They are itching to build another road. Their heads are stuck in the sands of the '50s.

We must realize that it is simply wrong to build a new road in the absence of any major advance in public transit and freight alternatives. The road can be stopped at the political level.

We need to develop a groundswell of public opinion both here and in Toronto that something better than the same old, same old has to happen in the new millennium. Finally, there will be an election in the next few years -- let's remember.

-- Murray Charlton, Waterdown.

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