Lack of provincial confirmation disappoints at meeting...
The Road Ahead
hit a stumbling block last week in regards to the proposed mid-peninsula
Wed 12 Sep 2003 - Flamborough Review - Irene
least, is the feeling of the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment (CONE)
following a Burlington city council meeting last week.
was to look at proposed amendments to the Ministry of Transportation's
Terms of Reference on the road, which is meant to ease traffic flow
between Toronto and Niagara through one of four proposed routes.
on the TofR came after the City of Burlington threatened to sue the
province over its procedure on the road. That led to meetings between
that city, Hamilton, Niagara and the Ministry of Transportation Ontario
was meant to vote on those amendments last week. But no clarifications
or confirmations came in from the MTO on time, said CONE executive director
instead, on Tuesday of this week.
kind of disappointing," said Thorne.
concrete to vote on, council simply acknowledged that progress has been
made and asked that an advisory committee be struck containing members
of Hamilton, Burlington and Niagara councils, as well as concerned citizens
groups, a member from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Niagara Escarpment
Commission and more to oversee the Environmental Assessment (EA) process.
Halton, CONE and the grassroots Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment
(COPE), are calling for a full EA on the proposed road. That would look
at alternatives, such as rail and transit, as well as the need for the
nothing less than a full and complete EA," said Thorne.
has argued that a new road is an economic must for the area. But critics,
such as CONE and COPE, feel all options have not been explored fully,
that the road will likely be tolled and so not extensively used and
that the gain will not outweigh the possible damage to escarpment lands.
to CONE, the then unconfirmed MTO amendments would make cuts to the
escarpment "a last resort."
wants those to be banned completely and notes there is nothing saying
that expanding current cuts to the escarpment would be approached with
take much comfort in that," he acknowledged. "There are still a lot
also don't address the need for the highway, something critics feel
was at a recent meeting on the project, along with officials from the
MTO, Niagara, Burlington and Halton. But Thorne feels the city has not
been as proactive or aggressive as others at the table.
should be congratulated," he said. "They've been able to move a little
what seemed like an immovable object. They've pushed really hard."
credited the public for focusing attention on the issue but worried
the province isn't really paying attention.
Road Ahead (policy document of the Tories), they've promised to build
the road if they're elected," he said.
him wonder if this whole process has been "window dressing."
that the provincial government has been forced by public pressure to
follow its own EA policy," he added.
the future, Thorne wants to see MTO put its pledges in writing. "I want
them to sign off on it," he said.
Sue McMaster, vice-chair of COPE, also has nothing but praise for Burlington
and Halton's efforts but feels the MTO has left much to be desired in
the way it has proceeded to date.
it's sad how far Burlington and Halton had to go to make the province
follow its own EA policy," she said. "There's a lot of clarity missing."
many have lost faith in the MTO and she is disappointed that Tory campaign
literature still mentions the road.
really serious (about an EA), how can they not withdraw that?" she wondered.
"How can you have both?"
is also disappointed in Hamilton's attitude toward the road, noting,
"Hamilton's stand on this highway is that they really want a road to
the city didn't encourage discussion on the project, but she did praise
both Flamborough councillors for their efforts.
not disappointed with our two councillors," said McMaster. "(Dave) Braden
and (Margaret) McCarthy have both been right there."
also pleased with the news coverage of the Red Hill Creek Expressway
in Hamilton, noting it shows that citizens are concerned about the environment
and the impact roads have on it.
this water. We breathe this air," she said.
is pleased that Burlington has been able to make the headway it has
to be part of significant change, but it has to be significant," she
said. "You'd like to hope that this is indicative of a real change in