Working to ensure
that citizens are aware of the proposed highway by sending out
flyers, establishing a website, writing to and networking with
the media, networking with other organizations and businesses
with similar concerns, use of road signs and manning the COPE
information booth at many public events.
We continue to sign
up new members. COPE now represents citizens opposed to this highway
in all regions affected by the corridor as well as those not directly
and meeting with politicians from the Municipal, Provincial and
and long-term strategies to fight the construction of the highway
and to force the Provincial government to follow its own environmental
and growth policies. These strategies have included political
action, raising media awareness, development of a communications
plan, research into the Government's legislation and policies
regarding transportation and the environment, liaison with other
interested groups such as the Sierra Club of Canada, and CONE,
and a host of other activities.
Our board serves
in part as a clearing-house to co-ordinate and consolidate research
efforts by our membership.
A COPE executive
committee member was a guest on a call-in radio show on CFRB regarding
COPE testified at
the Niagara Escarpment Commission hearings on the MPH on September
COPE made a presentation
to Hamilton City Council on September 25th. Hamilton has not formally
taken a position on the highway as yet. COPE's presentation aimed
to inform Council as to potential negative environmental, economic,
and human health consequences associated with the MPH.
COPE presented a
press conference with respected artist and naturalist Robert Bateman
on September 28th. The event received widespread media coverage.
Mr. Bateman expressed his strong opposition to the MPH in no uncertain
terms! See the website for details.
We have taken preliminary
steps toward arranging for a possible legal battle. We have sought
and received preliminary support and guidance from CELA (the Canadian
Environmental Law Association).
We are in the preliminary
stages of arranging to liaise with Six Nations. They may have
interests in the routes currently proposed by the MTO in terms
of possible interference with their burial grounds and ancestral
sites. COPE was asked to make a presentation on the MPH to the
Six Nations Council. We are scheduled to do so in December 2002.
We have reviewed
the reports (thousands of pages worth) published by the Ministry
of Transportation to analyze the validity of their determination
that a highway is needed in the area proposed.
in two of the three workshops held by the MTO in November 2002.
Two members were present at each of the Burlington and Hamilton
workshops (COPE was not invited to participate in the Niagara
workshop). Our members provided input along with other stakeholders
including city council members, Regional Chairs, MPP’s, industry
representatives, other citizen groups, and representatives of
the Ministry of Transportation. Since the workshops have had no
affect on the direction the MTO has taken, it is unclear as to
why they were held. Also, they were only ½ day in length. Many
in attendance expressed the sentiment that there wasn’t enough
time allotted to truly discuss the issues.
Along with other
groups, we have submitted comments to the MTO outlining our concerns
with the MTO’s flawed process and Needs Assessment. Our input
has been ignored as indicated by the MTO’s announcement at the
November PIC Meetings in which they stated their intention to
move on to the next step of the process – the terms of reference
for the Environmental Assessment. They also announced that additional
routes for the road would be considered. The public outcry to
consider alternate modes of transportation was ignored.
COPE was highly
visible at the September PIC Meetings and we maintained our high
profile at the November PIC Meetings. Members attended all three
PICs: Rockton, Welland and Burlington. We learned first hand that
the level of support for the highway in the Niagara Region has
been overstated. The opinions voiced by the participants at the
Welland PIC were overwhelmingly opposed to the highway. We signed
up more new members at Welland and joined forces with a citizens
group formed to fight the highway from the Niagara area. The opposition
to the highway at the Burlington and Rockton PICs was also overwhelming.
We continue to work
with many other interested groups including the Sierra Club of
Canada, Environment Hamilton, the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment
and others. In addition, we have solicited and received a great
deal of grassroots offers of individual support.