News Articles

From: The Flamborough Post, Sept. 27, 2002

By Irene Gentle o The Post

The province is going ahead with plans for a new highway without giving due consideration to growth patterns in the area.
That's the charge of Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy after listening to a presentation from the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) on the proposed Mid-peninsula highway Wednesday at council.
She wondered why congestion issues are not being addressed in other ways.
"Why are you going about this by building a road," she asked.
The proposed road would link the Niagara region with the 407 ETR in Burlington. A portion of the planned route would carve through part of Flamborough, taking up area farm land.
McCarthy said the MTO's presentation showed there hadn't been enough study into areas such as the planned population growth of Flamborough through Official Plan Amendment (OPA) 28. "It sets out logical growth. Obviously that has been disregarded in terms of projections," she said.
The lack of study means the province may be working from an unreliable set of beliefs.
"The rationale for building this road is questionable," McCarthy said. "It should be questioned. their assumptions are wrong."
She said a similar option was discussed and rejected by the Niagara Escarpment Commission in 1994. In a report of that date, McCarthy said a similar road is considered to be too expensive both in dollars and environmentally to be feasible.
"What makes this now something advantageous when it was such a disadvantage then," she wondered. "I don't accept that."
The road has met with strong opposition locally from residents as well as members of Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment (COPE).
Local COPE board member David Eckersley made a presentation to councillors and the MTO Wednesday that skipped over the usual arguments and instead targetted the presumed benefits of the road that he, among others, feel will become a tolled highway.
He pointed out the 407 ETR was also meant to reduce congestion but has been unable to do so due to the public's unwillingness to spend the money to use it.
"The gridlock and traffic problems between Burlington, Toronto and Pickering are many times worse than anything seen in the QEW Niagara corridor, yet this terrible traffic has not encouraged enough usage of the 407 to cause a significant reduction of congestion on the QEW or the 401," he said. "The last time they tried it, the situation was similar and the solution did not work."
The economic benefits some feel the highway will bring to the Hamilton area was also questioned by Eckersley, who said no one has yet produced proof of any financial boon from the 407.
"The economic benefits that might accrue to Hamilton, beginning in 2012 or so, are purely theoretical at this point," he said.
But even if the benefits do pan out, Eckersley wondered if the human health toll is worth the potential dollars.
"If the MTO is even close to being correct in its estimates as to usage of the new highway, Hamilton will find itself bracketed by two major sources of smog," he said. "If one person dies in Hamilton (from smog), does that justify the potential and as yet unknown economic benefits mentioned earlier?"

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