Welland Tribune-Mid-pen spinning wheels
- Monday, March 20, 2006 @ 09:00
So far there has been a lot of talk about a Mid-peninsula highway through Niagara
to help relieve traffic congestion, but the drive to actually see the highway
constructed has been spinning
In an effort to gain some traction, Niagara Regional Coun. Debbie Zimmerman plans
to introduce a motion that advocates partnerships with the private sector and
neighbouring municipalities to see the proposed corridor become a reality.
The uniform voice that she sought from Niagara to present to the provincial government
has proven to be elusive, thanks in part to the position of Niagara Falls council.
Two weeks ago that city reiterated its opposition to the plan in a letter to
the region. Niagara Falls councilís position is that the province should expand
Highway 406 and the QEW, a new highway may hurt sensitive environmental lands
and most of Niagaraís traffic is tourist-related.
We think thatís nonsense.
It was back in 2001 the government of the day decided four additional lanes of
capacity were needed to get traffic to Niagara and that the best way to do that
would be to build a new highway running through the southern portion of the
Niagara Falls councilís position that tourism is an important consideration
shouldnít be ignored, but it canít be overriding. The QEW is being expanded and
the need to expand Highway 406 as a north-south link is also important.
But another highway will open the roads to bring more people here, not fewer.
Mid-peninsula link has the potential to
more than just bring visitors to Niagara.
Expanded transportation routes could lead to more industry locating here, particularly
down here in the southern tier.
The area around Cambridge and Woodstock along Highway 401 has been selected by
automakers for their factories at least in part because of the proximity to the
major transportation route.
It doesnít seem unreasonable to believe a Mid-peninsula highway has the potential
of having the same effect in Niagara.
The need was identified years ago. Itís right that the project should be put
back on track.
The actions of Niagara Falls city council are yet another reminder of how out
of touch some in north Niagara are to the needs of south Niagara.
And contending a new highway may hurt sensitive environmental lands while also
suggesting most of Niagaraís traffic is tourist-related is simply shortsighted.
The highway can be built in such a manner as to protect sensitive environmental
Truck traffic meanwhile, would benefit hugely from a Mid-peninsula highway.
We think Zimmerman has the potential to be a visionary here.
Pity we canít say the same for Niagara Falls council.