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
She wondered why congestion issues are not being addressed in
"Why are you going about this by building a road," she
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
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
The road has met with strong opposition locally from residents
as well as members of Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment
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
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?"