On April 15, 2021, the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton resumed their 2018 Ontario court case against the proposed Milton CN truck-rail hub to ensure CN complies with laws that protect the health of residents and the environment.
This Ontario case by the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton seeks to protect the thousands of residents that live near the CN lands in Milton. “We are taking immediate action to address the serious concerns of Halton residents with respect to the proposed CN truck-rail hub in Milton.” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “No proposal should be allowed to go ahead before it complies with our laws. CN must be accountable to those who will be most affected by the project, and not just the Federal Government, which ignored its duty to protect the health of Halton residents when it announced its approval of this project.”
The Ontario case follows the January 21, 2021 decision by the Federal Government on this CN proposal. This federal decision allows CN to proceed further in the approvals process without addressing the conclusion reached by its own review panel that this proposal is likely to cause significant adverse effects on human health that cannot be mitigated. This Federal decision was also contrary to the panel conclusions that the proposed intermodal was likely to cause five other significant effects on air quality, the environment, and farmland that cannot be mitigated.
“The Federal Government has let us down and ignored the expertise of the panel it appointed,” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz. “Let me assure all Miltonians, we will continue fighting and advocating for you at all levels of government and in the courts.”
Since CN announced this proposal, the community has voiced its opposition because of serious concerns with its adverse effects on air quality and human health, the safety of local travel in the surrounding area, and the site’s close proximity to more than 34,000 current and future residents, one hospital, 12 schools, and two long-term care homes.
This Ontario court case is the second court action taken this year by the Halton Municipalities. On February 21, the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton filed an application with the Federal Court of Canada to have the court review the decisions made by Federal Cabinet and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change that has allowed CN’s proposal to proceed further without addressing the many serious problems identified by the federal panel.
“The Federal Review Panel found that this project is likely to cause harm on human health,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “Regional Council has a responsibility to do everything in its power to hold CN accountable and ensure compliance with provincial and municipal laws.”
“While the Federal Government has given highest priority to the economic interests of CN, we put our duty to protect the health and safety of residents first,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.
“Our communities and local representatives at all levels have voiced their concerns about CN’s proposed project,” said Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette. “We need to continue to be a unified voice for Halton residents.”
“Protecting the environment and safety of our communities remains Conservation Halton’s top priority,” said Conservation Halton Board Chair Gerry Smallegange. “We stand with our municipal partners and will continue to advocate for the well-being of residents in our watershed.”
CN’s proposed truck-rail hub in Milton would create only a small number of jobs and not provide the kind of investment that has been planned for and approved in Regional Official Plan Amendment 38 (ROPA 38). Although concerns with significant adverse environmental effects on air quality and human health are paramount, this proposal’s permanent harm to anticipated employment, investment, and municipal finances is also significant. CN is ignoring the substantial benefits it promised in 2008 when it sought and ultimately obtained changes to Regional Official Plan Amendment 38. The low employment and investment numbers now advanced by CN for the current proposal could be achieved elsewhere by modernizing its existing Brampton facility.
To learn more about the Halton Municipalities’ position on the project, please visit halton.ca/CN.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 595,000 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.