On February 19, 2021, Regional Council commenced an application at the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of federal decisions by the Minister and Cabinet resulting in federal approval of the CN truck-rail hub in Milton.
“We understand how important this effort is to our communities and our goal is to overturn this decision through the legal system,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The fact that the Federal Government approved this project while ignoring the significant adverse effects on health identified by the expert panel it appointed is beyond disappointing. We will continue to fight for the health of Halton residents.”
“The health and safety of our residents continues to be our top priority,” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz. “We are disappointed to have Ottawa fail to protect human health as its own law demands, but will continue to advocate for and protect the interests of Milton’s residents.”
Since the project was announced, community opposition has centered around the significant adverse effects on air quality and human health, in addition to concerns about safety in the surrounding areas due to the potential for increased traffic. The project will be within one kilometer of more than 34,000 residents, one hospital, 12 schools, and two long-term care homes.
“The Federal Government has approved a project that will have a significant detrimental impact on the health of Halton residents that its expert panel said cannot be mitigated,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “Cabinet owes our residents an explanation.”
“We continue to be shocked that the Federal Government has chosen the interests of CN over the health of our residents,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton “Halton residents deserve better.”
“Our communities and local representatives at the provincial and federal levels have come together and have been a strong voice against this ill-conceived proposal that is off-side what this Region and Province approved for the CN lands,” said Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette. “We thank these representatives, particularly MP Adam van Koeverden, for their continued support as we continue to pursue a positive outcome for Halton residents.”
Following its multi-year review, the federal panel concluded that this Project’s significant health effects cannot be mitigated. Even after mitigation there will still be significant problems. These effects result from the release into the air particulate matter (PM2.5) that is dangerous at any level of exposure and causes an array of health effects on the community.
The CN facility in Milton would not create a significant number of jobs, or provide the kind of investment Milton or Halton Region has planned for and approved in Regional Official Plan Amendment 38 (ROPA 38). Although the Project’s significant adverse environmental effects on air quality and human health are paramount, the Project’s permanent adverse effects on anticipated employment, investment, and municipal finances are also significant. CN is ignoring the details of the plan it supported amending when it now makes any economic arguments in support of the present project. Instead, the economic and capacity benefits desired by CN could be achieved 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.