The Halton Municipalities (City of Burlington, Town of Halton Hills, Town of Milton and Town of Oakville) will bring forward expert opinions and reports to a Federal Public Hearing on a 400-acre truck-rail hub proposed by the Canadian National Railway (CN) in the Town of Milton.
The project is currently being assessed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Joint Review Panel. The Panel will host a Public Hearing in Milton from June 19 – July 17 to hear community concerns related to CN’s proposal, including environmental effects and how it may affect local residents.
“We have been working closely with our Halton municipal partners to ensure residents’ concerns are heard. This project impacts more than rail lines – it will congest our roads, pose health risks and result in fewer jobs for the community,” said Halton Region Chair Gary Carr. “This is something that every resident and member of this community should be concerned about.”
The Halton Municipalities’ team of experts have identified significant non-rail aspects of the project that raise concerns for residents and the community. These concerns and expert opinions will be presented to the Panel during the Hearing:
- Traffic congestion: The hub will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and result in 1,600 truck trips to and from the site each day. These truck routes will lead to more traffic on our roads and traffic will continue to increase as the site’s capacity grows. This congestion poses a risk to the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and families in the area.
- Health and safety: The proposed site is immediately adjacent to existing and future residential areas. Approximately 34,000 current and future residents, twelve schools, two long-term care homes and one hospital are located within one kilometer of the site. The site will generate increased levels of noise, air pollution and lighting, and significantly impact the community’s health and safety.
- Environment: Our community effort to protect the environment will be impacted by the effect of emissions, storm water discharge, water takings and watercourse alterations.
- Employment: The project will result in less serviceable employment lands and potentially fewer jobs for the Halton community. The site and the surrounding area is currently planned for 1,500 jobs and this project will only result in 130 jobs.
CN has bought 1200 acres, and the proposed facility only takes up 400 acres. The Region has concerns over what will happen to the remaining 800 acres. “CN is not just asking us to support the current proposal, they’re asking us to have faith about what might come next. All while telling us it is none of our business,” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz.
Milton Member of Parliament (MP) Lisa Raitt spoke for the voters. “I have weighed all the facts for and against this project and have come to the conclusion that this site is not appropriate for this type of operation.” Raitt served as Transport Minister under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and recused herself from her post so that she could speak for voters.
In February, 2018 Halton Region announced a constitutional challenge based on jurisdiction. Milton Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Parm Gill has listened to voters, and promises to make their voices heard on the issue. “I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure those voices continue to be heard as the Joint Review Panel makes their recommendations, and the Federal Government makes their final decision on this project,” Gill said. The former Liberal government announced its support for the court challenge, and the Progressive Conservative (PC) government will proceed with it. A stay in proceedings was announced earlier this year.
Halton Municipalities are encouraging residents to get involved. They can watch the public hearings online, or be part of the conversation on social media. Residents are also being encouraged to talk to their MPP’s and MP’s about the project, or submit their comments here.