The One Thing That Could Change Milton’s Growth Plans

By: Laura Steiner

At its September 25 meeting, Milton Council turned its focus forward 20 years to 2036.  Town Staff gave four different presentations focusing on different aspects of the Town’s future.

I could see the promise of how amazing a community it would be.  A place where you could as the line goes “live, work, and play.”  A community with a university, proper transit, and a thriving business sector, and a vibrant downtown. But it was difficult not to think of the one thing that could change all this.  CN, and its plans for an intermodal facility lurked in the background as a shadow.

There are compelling, logical arguments against it.  The damage to area roads caused by increased truck traffic.  The environmental consequences to greenbelt lands, and noise/ visual pollution.  The urban planning arguments; the fact an entrance lies directly opposite Boyne Survey, and that the lands were previously designated strategic employment lands.   CN had walked away from a first attempt at building the facility on the same lands.

The Town made its opposition official earlier this year by including a mention in its “first principles of growth.”   Everyone I’ve spoken with while covering this is against it from the CAO on down.  It’s the worst-kept secret around that Milton does not want the CN intermodal.

The issue with making the position official is it might happen anyway.  The approval of the CN Intermodal is up to the federal government.  If it goes ahead,  Town staff is stuck working with a company it doesn’t want, and the relationship could be a sour one.  Plan for all possibilities, and leave the politics to politicians.