Burlington urges full EA on road
Neighbouring mayors hope to proceed
Jason Misner, Special to the Review
Sep 8, 2006
The province is committed to ensuring a proposed superhighway from
north Burlington to Niagara is thoroughly studied even though a handful
of politicians want the corridor's construction fast tracked, according
to the spokesperson for Ontario's Minister of Transportation Donna
Erie-Lincoln MPP Tim Hudak, Hamilton Mayor Larry Di Ianni, Lincoln
Mayor Bill Hodgson, and Port Colborne Mayor Ron Bodner met with Cansfield
last week to discuss "ways to accelerate" the construction
of the Niagara-to-GTA Corridor, Hudak stated in a news release. He
said he arranged the meeting as part of an ongoing campaign to build
the "much-needed highway through Niagara and Hamilton."
But Cansfield's spokesperson Neal Kelly said the minister wants the
environmental assessment (EA) of the proposed Burlington-to-Niagara
highway to be properly and fairly completed. The assessment was put
on hold three years ago for further study.
The minister told the MPP and local politicians that the EA process
has to be respected, but she also told them she sees the need for this
type of highway," he said, stressing the province wants all the
municipalities to work together. "She knows there's a fair amount
of congestion in the Hamilton-Niagara corridor.
You can't build a highway in isolation anymore, everything is linked,
(with) all the different modes of transportation."
Burlington mayor Rob MacIsaac is pleased to hear the full EA, in
which terms of reference were completed in June, will proceed as
Burlington and Halton had filed a joint court challenge of the
highway three years ago that was eventually withdrawn.
An accelerated process is what got the province in trouble the last
time around," MacIsaac said.
The EA is expected to start in the fall and take four years to
complete, say MTO staff.
Under the previous Tory government, plans for the 130-kilometre,
$1.5-billion superhighway, previously called the Mid-Peninsula
Highway, was proposed
to run from Fort Erie to the Niagara Escarpment area of north
Possible connections for the proposed highway included Hwy. 407
near Walker's Line, an expanded Hwy. 403 on Hamilton Mountain,
west of Milton and Hwy. 6 in Flamborough.
The highway was to be subjected to only a limited assessment,
leading Halton Region and the City of Burlington to file a joint
There were concerns from councillors and residents alike that
would bring more traffic, more pollution and destroy treasured
natural features like the Niagara Escarpment.
A full environmental assessment means careful examination of
social, economic and natural land effects of the highway. It
seriously studying alternatives, such as widening existing highways
superior rail and public transit systems.
A key factor in the transportation planning process is the forecast
that the Greater Golden Horseshoe area will grow by four million
people within 30 years.
"All reasonable options to add transportation capacity to the
corridor will be examined during the course of the study," said
MTO spokesperson Bob Nichols.