Halton Regional Council to fight approval of CN truck-rail hub in Milton

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Published February 19, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Regional Council recently began 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.

Since the project was announced, there has been opposition around the negative effects on air quality and human health as well as concerns about safety in the surrounding areas due to the potential for increased traffic.

“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.”

The project will be within one kilometre of more than 34,000 residents, one hospital, 12 schools and two long-term care homes.

While the decision was being awaited, Halton municipalities banded together in an attempt to urge the Federal Government to refuse the approval of the proposed CN truck-rail hub in Milton.

The first delay on the decision was announced on Sept. 21, 2020, and the second delay last month caused extreme disappointment among Halton Municipalities.

“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.”

The federal panel concluded that this project’s significant health effects cannot be mitigated, following its multi-year review.

Even after mitigation, there will still be significant issues and these effects result from the release into the air particulate matter that is dangerous at any level of exposure. It also causes several health effects on the community.

The CN facility in Milton will not create a significant amount of jobs or provide the kind of investment Milton or Halton Region has planned for and approved in Regional Official Plan Amendment 38.

Additionally, the project’s permanent effects on anticipated employment, investment and municipal finances are also significant.

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