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CN Milton Logistics Hub Project

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The Proposed CN Truck-Rail Hub in Milton

Project Overview

CN rail is proposing to build a new truck-rail (“Logistics”) hub in the Town of Milton.

  • CN owns over 1,200 acres (485 hectares) at the proposed site, and is proposing to develop 400 acres (160 hectares).
  • The proposed truck-rail hub would bring at least 1,600 truck trips to and from the facility each day.
  • The proposed project includes new mainline rail, which will double the existing track line and add over 20 kilometers of new rail yard track.
  • Lands west of the rail lines are designated for future employment.
  • These lands are subject to:
    • Regional servicing impacts; an
    • Regional phasing that schedules new development to begin between 2021 and 2031.
  • Regional Natural Heritage System designations impact these lands.
  • Regional servicing is not presently available to the site. The extension of servicing is not scheduled until some time after 2021 (in accordance with Sustainable Halton Water and Wastewater Master Plans).
  • The proposed CN Logistics Hub Is not consistent with the current land use planning framework of the Region or Town.

The proposed facility is planned to operate 24/7.

Current Project Status

The project is currently being assessed by a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Joint Review Panel Process.

Project Concerns

It is premature for the Halton Municipalities (Halton Region, City of Burlington, Town of Halton Hills, Town of Milton, Town of Oakville) to take a formal position on the project. However, the Halton Municipalities do have concerns about the potential impacts to our communities, including the environment, health and safety. These concerns can be summarized as follows:

  • Traffic congestion:  The expected 1,600 daily truck trips could have impacts on Regional roads, increase traffic congestion, and compromise the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and families in the surrounding communities.
  • Growth and community vision:  Significant work has been done to create comprehensive plans for our communities based on Provincial planning objectives. There are thousands of homes in the immediate vicinity of the proposed truck-rail hub.  The 24/7 operation of the hub will interfere with resident interests.
  • Health and safety:  Noise, dust and lighting may have substantial effects on nearby existing and approved residential communities.
  • Environment:  There are potential effects of emissions, storm water discharge, water takings and watercourse alterations posed by this project. As well, there are threats to environmentally-sensitive lands in provincially-designated Greenbelt lands.

Stay Informed

If you wish to be kept informed of the Halton Municipalities’ involvement on this issue, please complete the following form to receive electronic updates:

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The Issue for the Halton Municipalities

The Halton Municipalities, together with Conservation Halton, recognize that the rail aspects of the truck-rail hub are matters of federal jurisdiction. Yet, this project is about more than rail lines – it includes significant non-rail aspects, and the potential effects of these on multiple areas of provincial and municipal government jurisdiction.  Most of these areas of provincial and municipal government interest are not covered in any way by federal government oversight.

  • If CN’s position were accepted, it would lead to a regulatory gap. The consequence of this gap is that CN, a for-profit company, would be self-regulating in areas that should be regulated by the Province and the Municipalities.  

CN rail’s position:

The truck-rail hub is a matter of exclusive federal jurisdiction, and neither the Province nor the Halton Municipalities have any regulatory role with respect to the project, whatsoever.

Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton believe:

The significant non-rail aspects of this project are of provincial and municipal government interest. We reject CN’s view that Halton Municipalities have no regulatory role with respect to this project.

Legal Action

On February 21, 2018, the Halton Municipalities (and Conservation Halton) commenced a joint Court application to confirm their jurisdiction to review the impacts of the proposed CN truck-rail project in the Town of Milton.  The application seeks a declaration confirming the legitimate role and jurisdiction of the Province and the Halton Municipalities with respect to CN’s proposed project. This action has been taken to ensure that resident interests are protected and the vision for our community is represented.

Timeline

2019

  • March 4, 2019

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to information request package 8 (group 3). The additional information can be accessed on the public registry at document #722 (PDF file).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100 (external link).

  • February 19, 2019

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to package 6 and a portion of its information request package 8 (group 2). The additional information can be accessed on the public registry at document #714 (PDF file).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100 (external link).

2018

  • December 20, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to a portion of its information request package 8. The additional information can be accessed on the public registry at document #705 (external link).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

  • September 26, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has requested additional information from CN. Package 8 requests referenced documents and information on air quality, human health, truck traffic, light, noise and vibration, socio-economic matters and wildlife. It can be accessed on the public registry, document #685 (external link).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information. Participants are encouraged to review additional information as it becomes available and provide their comments to the Review Panel as soon as possible. Upon receipt of CN's final response to the second round of information requests, the Review Panel will provide at least 14 days' notice for participants to submit any final comments.

  • June 14, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to the final portion of its Information Request package 4.1 (Group 3). Responses to all information requests for the first round have now been provided.

    The Review Panel announced (external link) today that the comments on the responses prepared by the proponent to Information Request packages 1 to 5 are due on July 16, 2018.

    The Review Panel has also issued a process update (external link) to describe the current status and next steps in the joint process for the review of the Project.

  • June 5, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to a portion of its information request package 4.2. CN provided responses to information requests on noise and vibration. The additional information can be accessed on the public registry, document #652 (PDF file). Responses to the remaining information requests will be submitted at a later date. 

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

  • May 23, 2018

    On May 23, 2018 an update was provided to Regional Council indicating that CN has filed a preliminary motion to dismiss or stay the Ontario court application by the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton (`Halton`) on the basis that it is premature unless and until there is a federal decision on CN`s proposed intermodal development. The CN preliminary motion must be heard before the Halton application can move forward. The CN motion is scheduled for September 12, 2018. The Provincial Government, through the Ministry of the Attorney General’s office, is intervening in support of the Halton application.

  • March 26, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from CN rail in response to a portion of its information request package 4.1. CN provided responses to information requests related to general information, human health, physical and cultural heritage, indigenous matters, fish and fish habitat and wildlife including migratory birds. The additional information can be accessed on the public registry, document #632 (PDF file). Responses to the remaining information requests will be submitted at a later date.

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

  • February 21, 2018

    The Halton Municipalities initiated a joint Court application to confirm their jurisdiction to review the impacts of the proposed CN Truck-Rail Hub in Milton.

  • January 26, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to its information request package 3. The additional information can be accessed on the public registry, document #613 (PDF file).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on the draft Public Hearing Procedures (PDF file).

  • January 17, 2018

    The Review Panel conducting the joint process to review the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project has issued a public notice (external link) seeking comments on the draft Public Hearing Procedures (PDF file).

2017

2016

  • December 20, 2016 

    The Review Panel for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project sought public comments on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and additional information prepared by the Canadian National Railway Company. The Review Panel indicated it would consider all submissions received in making its determination on whether further information is required from the proponent. Written comments were to be sent by March 6, 2017 to: 

    Joseph Ronzio, Panel Manager, Milton Logistics Hub Project
    c/o Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
    160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
    miltonhubpanel.polemiltoncommission@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

    A resource document (external link) to assist participants in the preparation of submissions regarding the sufficiency review, the Environmental Impact Statement and additional information, were made available on the public registry at ceaa.gc.ca (external link), reference number 80100 (external link) .

  • December 8, 2016

    The Halton Municipalities issued a Brief providing information on existing land use standards that are relevant to the CN Project and its environmental effects.  The Brief includes a description of the Halton and Ontario land use planning regimes, and explains their relationship to the CEAA framework.  It also describes municipal land use standards that are relevant to assessing “significant adverse environmental effects” (SAEEs) under the CEAA.
    The Halton Municipalities Brief consists of four documents:

    Brief: Municipal land use standards relevant to assessing the Project for SAEEs; (PDF file)

    Appendix A: Visuals (describing the Project and zones of various possible effects); (PDF file)

    Appendix B: Legal and technical support for all standards identified in the Brief; (PDF file) and

    Appendix C: Glossary of technical terms and definitions used in the Brief. (PDF file)

  • December 6, 2016

    Halton Municipalities wrote to the CEA Agency and the Canadian Transportation Agency to confirm the process established for the joint review process with respect to Municipal input

  • December 6, 2016

    The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Dr. Scott Streiner, Chair of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) announced the establishment of a three-member panel to review the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project in Milton. The Agreement to Establish a Joint Process for the Review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project, signed by the Minister and the Chair of the CTA, established the mandate and authority of this panel, as well as the procedures and timelines for the conduct of the review. Under the Agreement, the panel is to conduct an assessment of the environmental effects of the project; consider Aboriginal traditional knowledge, comments received from the public and mitigation measures and conclude whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse effects; and identify any follow-up programs required. Information will be gathered to assist the CTA in its assessment of the reasonableness of the location of the new railway lines, including with respect to the requirements for the railway operations and the interests of the localities that could be affected by the lines.

  • December 1, 2016 

    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency responded to CN (external link) on Conformity Review of Environmental Impact Statement and additional information.

  • November 24, 2016

    The Canadian Transportation Agency responded to Halton Municipalities’ November 14 letter.

  • November 14, 2016

    Halton Municipalities wrote to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the Chair of the Canadian Transportation agency to express concerns with joint process being established by the Draft Review Panel Agreement.

  • October 14, 2016

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Canadian Transportation Agency invited the public to attend information sessions on the joint process being established for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project (external link). The information sessions gave members of the public and Indigenous groups an opportunity to learn about the review panel process and the upcoming public participation opportunities, as well as to ask questions of federal representatives. 

  • August 31, 2016

    Federal Minister of the Environment responds to Halton Municipalities’ July 11 letter.

  • July 11, 2016

    Deadline for members of the public and interested stakeholders to submit written comments on the draft Agreement (external link) to establish a Review Panel for the proposed project.

  • July 11, 2016

    letter (PDF file)  by Gowling WLG, on behalf of Halton Municipalities’ and their comments on the Draft Agreement To Establish a Joint Process for the Review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (“CEAA”), was sent to The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

  • June 8, 2016

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the Canadian Transportation Agency invited the public to comment on the draft Agreement (external link) to establish a Review Panel for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub (external link) project. Once final, the Agreement would establish the mandate and authority of the Review Panel, as well as the procedures and timelines for the conduct of the review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and the Canada Transportation Act. Members of the public and interested stakeholders were invited to submit written comments on the draft Agreement (external link)  by July 11, 2016.

  • March 16, 2016

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) provided information requirements to Canadian National Railway Company (CN) with respect to additional information required in the CN Environmental Impact Statement for the Milton Logistics Hub Project in order to fulfill the requirements of the CEAA guidelines. The document can be found here (external link) (external PDF).  For more information on the environmental assessment, visit the Agency’s website (registry reference number 80100 (external link) ).

  • January 4, 2016

    Federal Minister of the Environment responded to the Halton Municipalities’ November 4 letter.

2015

  • December 8, 2015

    An Environmental Impact Statement (external link) was submitted by CN to CEAA.

  • November 4, 2015

    Halton Region contacted the newly-appointed Federal Minister of the Environment regarding the composition of Review Panel.

  • August 7, 2015

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced that funding was available through its Participant Funding Program to assist eligible individuals and groups to participate in the Environmental Assessment of the CN project. Applications for this funding were to be received by September 8, 2015.

  • July 20, 2015

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency issued the final Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines (external link) to the proponent on July 20, 2015 for the preparation of an environmental impact statement.

  • July 20, 2015

    The Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Leona Aqlukkaq ordered a panel review of this project which must be established by December 17, 2015 .

  • July 3, 2015

    Halton Municipalities sent a letter (PDF file) to the Minister of the Environment reiterating the need for a joint three-member panel to review the CN proposal under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It recommended that the composition of the panel include an expert in Ontario urban planning, an expert in railway safety and an expert in biophysical effects.

  • June 30, 2015

    Halton Municipalities responded to CN’s letter.

  • June 21, 2015

    Last day for receipt of comments, by the CEAA, on the draft Environmental Assessment guidelines (external link)  related to the potential environmental impacts of the project. On close of the comments period, the CEAA triggered the Environmental Assessment.

  • June 20, 2015

    Federal Minister of Environment responds to the Halton Municipalities’ June 19 letter.

  • June 19, 2015

    Halton Municipalities submitted comments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency on the draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines.

  • June 19, 2015

    Halton Municipalities sent a letter to the Minister of the Environment requesting the need for a panel review of the CN Logistics Hub project by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

  • June 17, 2015

    CN sent a letter (PDF file) to the CEAA rejecting the proposition that there is any duty to consult the Region and the Town as part of the environmental approvals process.

  • June 16, 2015

    Halton Region contacted the Federal Minister of the Environment to request a panel review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

  • June 5, 2015

    CEAA responded to Halton Municipalities’ section 18 jurisdiction letter.

  • June 4, 2015

    Halton Region, the City of Burlington and the Towns of Milton, Oakville and Halton Hills jointly submitted a third response (PDF file) to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). This response identified that Halton Region and the Town of Milton are each a “jurisdiction” under section 18 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 meaning that both the Town and the Region must be consulted with as part of the environmental assessment for the CN project.

  • May 27, 2015

    CN made a presentation to Halton Regional Council.

  • May 22, 2015

    CEAA released Draft Guidelines for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. It set a deadline of June 21, 2015 for receipt of public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines through an online news release (external link) .  The CEAA issued its notice of decision requiring the proposed CN Logistics Hub to undertake a federal environmental assessment process under the Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

  • May 13, 2015

    The Canadian Transportation Agency ordered CN to obtain federal approval under the Canadian Transportation Act to construct railway lines as part of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub.

  • April 27, 2015

    The CEAA 45 day public consultation period closed.  Halton Municipalities request that the CEA Agency consider all matters within federal jurisdiction.

  • April 27, 2015

    A letter (PDF file) was sent by Gowlings on behalf of the Halton Municipalities to the CEAA identifying the range of proposed CN physical activities, the required federal approvals, the environmental effects on matters of federal concern, and further questions on the basis for the CN claim to exemption from the CTA rail line approval process.

  • April 20, 2015

    Interim Control By-law (PDF file) was passed by Town of Milton to regulate employment planning across the southern part the Town. It set out in a Schedule that includes the CN lands, but excludes "railway and related transportation works proposed by CN that are addressed and approved by federal law and regulation”.

  • April 17, 2015

    A letter  was sent by Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP (Gowlings) on behalf of all Halton Municipalities to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) expressing concern with gaps in the CN project description summary and report on the federal approvals required by CN, the failure to demonstrate exemption from the Canadian Transportation Agency rail line approval process, and the related failure to Identify all environmental effects on matters of federal concern.

  • April 8, 2015

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency started a 45-day screening process to determine if the proposed project has the potential to cause significant environmental effects.

  • April 7, 2015

    CEA Agency invited public comments for Milton Logistics Hub Project summary project description through an online news release (external link) .

  • March 17, 2015 

    CN made a formal announcement of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub and submitted a Project Description (external link)  to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

  • March 10, 2015

    A letter from Halton Region and Town of Milton advised CN that the Town and Region consider the project to be subject to many Ontario and municipal laws, including the land use controls of the Ontario Planning Act.

  • January 2015

    CN shared their intent with Halton Regional Council to build the proposed Milton Logistics Hub.

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