Niagara politicians prepared to lobby for highway plan: See Ottawa conference as chance to push ministers on project

The Standard (St. Catharines - Niagara)
Fri 23 Jul 2004
Page: A4

Byline: Kalvin Reid

THOROLD - Niagara politicians need to "gang up" on provincial cabinet
ministers to ensure they know how important the mid-peninsula highway is,
says Thorold Mayor Robin Brock.

Several Niagara mayors and Niagara Region Chairman Peter Partington will be
at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa Aug.
22-25, and they will have the perfect opportunity to meet face-to-face with
members of Ontario's ruling circle.

Hearing from the Niagara contingent will show a unified front and may more
effectively demonstrate what a new highway means to the region and the
province than sending a series of letters, Brock said.

"We could all maybe gang up on them while we're there," she said.
The Liberal government effectively moved the process back to Square 1 in
December when it pulled the plug on the scoped environmental assessment of
the previous Tory government and announced it would conduct a full
assessment, which will include a look at the need for the highway.

Critics have accused the province of having no intention of making progress
on the highway, but regional council Thursday night once again expressed
support for the project and urged the province to release terms of
reference for the environmental study as soon as possible.

"We all share a common goal in terms of achieving this," said Welland Mayor
Damien Goulbourne.

It is hoped terms of reference for the assessment will be ready early in
the new year, said Partington.

Most of the opposition to the highway is concentrated in Halton, where a
mid-peninsula route would be expected to connect with the provincial
highway network, but Partington is attempting to alleviate some of the
concerns in that area.

He met with civic officials from Hamilton and Halton June 30 at Dundurn
Castle in Hamilton, and is planning another meeting in September in Halton.
"A spirit of co-operation has been forged," he said.

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