On Tuesday, March 10, Milton Mayor Gord Krantz, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed-Ward, Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton met with the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, to voice their strong concerns about the location of CN’s proposed truck-rail hub in Milton and request that the Federal Government refuse approval of CN’s proposal. The Mayors spoke at a media conference in Ottawa alongside Milton MP Adam van Koeverden to show a collective and strong voice on this issue. The Mayors also met with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, The Honourable Anita Anand.
“Today, the Halton Municipalities are in Ottawa to ensure Federal Cabinet understands that the health and safety of thousands of residents must guide their decision about CN’s proposed truck-rail hub,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The Federal Review Panel reached the unprecedented conclusion that the project is likely to cause significant effects on human health that cannot be mitigated. Never before has a Panel made a finding of significant effects on human health. It is unfathomable that this project can be justified given the array of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment, and we are requesting the Federal Government acknowledge this fact and refuse approval of CN’s proposal.
The impacts to air quality and human health, as a result of CN’s proposed project, put Halton citizens at serious risk. Additionally, the Panel recommended 200 mitigation measures to avoid significant adverse effects, but the Federal Government cannot enforce the majority of these.
“We are not saying no to the need for a truck-rail hub—we are saying the proposed site is the wrong location for this project,” said Milton Mayor Gord Krantz. “The proposed site is located within one kilometer of approximately 34,000 current and future residents, one hospital, 12 schools and two long-term care homes.”
The next step is for Federal Cabinet to consider the findings of the Panel and whether the effects are justified. During the meetings with officials in Ottawa, the Halton Municipalities presented five critical reasons why the significant effects cannot be justified for the proposed location.
- Any project that jeopardizes human health is too high a risk. The Federal Review Panel reached the unprecedented conclusion that the project is likely to cause significant effects on human health that cannot be mitigated.
- The potential adverse impacts are more numerous than the Panel’s findings because the mitigation required to avoid those effects is not federally enforceable. This project will cause up to 16 additional significant adverse environmental effects (beyond the six identified by the Panel), including health effects on residential communities from noise, because mitigation required by the Panel to avoid such effects cannot be federally implemented or enforced.
- There are other negative impacts to the local community and economy that have been entirely ignored. The Panel wrongly excluded from any assessment of significance a variety of effects on socio-economic conditions of concern to the Halton Municipalities that the Minister triggering the Panel review expressly required. One critical impact the Panel did not address is the negative impact on traffic congestion and Regional road infrastructure that would result from 1,600 truck trips daily to and from the proposed location.
- The Panel wrongly endorsed CN’s position that all aspects of this project are immune or exempt from provincial and municipal regulation and standards.
- The CN Intermodal facility nearby in Brampton raises major questions about CN’s future needs and ultimate plans for the proposed location in Milton. The Halton Municipalities presented evidence that indicated the Brampton facility could be expanded to cover the entire projected container volumes for the proposed site in Milton.
By sharing this information in their meetings with officials in Ottawa, the Halton Municipalities know that Federal Cabinet has enough information to refuse the project at this proposed location. The Halton Municipalities also have a meeting scheduled with The Honourable Johnathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, at the end of March. A decision by the Federal Government is expected by June 2020.
Residents are invited to attend a community event about CN’s proposal co-hosted by Milton MP Adam van Koeverden, Halton Region and the Town of Milton on Saturday, March 28 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton. You are also encouraged to make your voice heard on this important issue by contacting your MPs and MPPs by email or letter. You can also join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #sayNO2CNhub and tagging your Mayor and Council, MP and MPP.
For more information about CN’s proposal, including a video from today’s media conference and the Halton Municipalities’ position on this project, please visit halton.ca/cn.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 580,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.