Transit upgrades on Halton politicians' list for the new provincial government

Jason Misner
Oct 14, 2003

The Liberal party doesn't assume power of Ontario for another 10 days, but Halton politicians have ready a grocery list of election promises and issues they want checked off as soon as possible.

The Grits captured an overwhelming 72 of 103 Ontario seats in the October 2 provincial election. Among them were Kevin Flynn, a regional councillor who won the MPP seat for Oakville and Ted McMeekin, who regained his seat for the riding that includes Aldershot.

There is hope, then, in Halton that having two Liberal MPPs part of the ruling government means election promises will be fulfilled and concerns will be heard.

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz said he wants to see transit in Milton and elsewhere greatly improved, and that will require provincial funding. There's limited bus service in Milton, which is growing rapidly every year.

At one time the Province used to pay 75 per cent of the costs of buying a bus, but it no longer pays for any bus purchases.

In their election platform, the Liberals promised to send two cents of the provincial tax portion collected on gasoline to municipalities for transit. Mr. Krantz said that will prove crucial in building a proper transit or a roads system to move people around.

"(The Province) needs to help provide the infrastructure, whether it be for buses or expansion of roads," he said.

Halton Chair Joyce Savoline said there are a host of issues she wants addressed, the number one being improving the relationship between municipalities and the Province.

"I think that local and regional governments have a large part to play in a healthy, prosperous and vibrant Ontario," she said, noting the Province should consult with municipalities before it plans to do things like download services.

Regionally, Ms Savoline said a full environmental assessment of the controversial mid-peninsula highway - to run from the Niagara Escarpment in north Burlington to Fort Erie - must be undertaken.

Also, she said she looks forward to seeing if the new government enacts an Ontario-wide smoking ban. A Halton-wide smoking bylaw was voted down this spring.

A full review of the Mid-Pen and a province-wide smoking bylaw were planks in the Liberal election platform, and Mr. Flynn said he will work to see they are brought to fruition.

These will be only a few of the issues and challenges he expects to face as Halton's newest MPP. To meet them, he said he wants create a "new spirit of co-operation."

"I know what it's like to be dictated by a senior level of government," he said, noting his 18 years of serving in local politics. "My inclination is to work with people and other levels of government."

Oakville Mayor Ann Mulvale said she's putting a lot of stock in Mr. Flynn's background as a municipal politician and the struggles experienced in dealing with the Province.

"We want them to remember the pressures they experienced as members of local councils," she said.

Ms Mulvale said she wants the Liberal government to review the years-old Ontario Municipal Board to see if it's still serving its function. It makes decisions on development in the province.




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