November 24, 2004
Delegation to Halton Council
Re: Joint Regional-Local
Submission of Draft Provincial Greenbelt Plan and Related Legislation
Thank you for the opportunity
to present our position to you regarding the joint report on the draft
Citizens Opposed to Paving
the Escarpment’s (COPE) primary focus is stopping the ill-conceived
Mid Peninsula Highway; therefore my comments will mainly address the
report's infrastructure section.
Although COPE has some
concerns with the plan, in general we do support the provincial governments
COPE’s primary concern
is the Niagara to GTA Transportation Corridor, which bears a striking
resemblance to option “C” of the Mid Peninsula Highway. The inclusion
of the highway at the onset, when the need has yet to be substantiated,
COPE agrees with recommendation #4 of the report. That public consultation
regarding the Greenbelt Plan be extended to co-ordinate with the Growth
Management Plan. We also recommend that both plans should be considered
in concert with the Transportation Master Plan currently being crafted
by the province. To date, COPE has not seen the Transportation Plan,
but we understand that, by its very nature, it will affect infrastructure
planning on the Niagara Escarpment.
Regarding the memo to council dated November 15, 2004 and purposed
changes to recommendation 11.6, COPE encourages council to put forward
the recommendation as amendments as well as consider the following
Section 4.2.1 – second
- COPE believes the definition of “essential” needs to be clearly
- COPE believes the definition of “linear infrastructure facility”
needs to be clearly defined.
Section 4.2.1 – 4th
- COPE believes it is inappropriate for specific examples to be sited
in the Greenbelt plan before establishing need and the completing
a full environmental assessment. We strongly support the recommendation
to remove the Niagara to GTA corridor, as well as other specific corridors,
from the report.
- COPE believes a statement enshrining the government’s commitment
to completing full environmental assessment for infrastructure proposals
such as the Niagara to GTA corridor should be included in the plan
and legislation as well as a statement clearing giving weight and
commitment to developing alternate modes of transportation first.
This would include giving priority to and proper consideration for
transit, rail and marine first.
COPE agrees with the
report's conclusion that the public consultation process could and should
be improved. The public and groups such as COPE have had very little
time to digest and comment on the Greenbelt Plan. Furthermore, the
workshops are scheduled during the day. Without reasonable notice it
is difficult, if not impossible, for citizens who are otherwise employed,
to arrange attendance at these workshops.
COPE’s final concern
that I will address today is that the big picture may be lost in
the detail. The big issue of the impact of infrastructure projects
on our health has not been addressed in the Greenbelt Plan. Our habit
of building highways has cost us in unforeseen ways. The resulting
pollution has affected our environment and our health. We
need to ensure that before building new infrastructure on the Greenbelt,
we can answer the question “is it Healthy for those living in the vicinity
and will the project further degrade the environment?” We know from
various studies that highway pollution causes respiratory diseases including
asthma. It has also been linked to heart disease and pollutes our
water supply. Noise pollution is also a serious issue that needs to be considered in
the human health factor.
Paramount to all plans must be this question: Is it Healthy for all humans
and other life forms? Ironically, the issue of health is factored into
most other decisions. Why not the building of highway infrastructures?
That concludes my presentation
for today. Thank you for your attention.
Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment