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Published on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Halton municipalities going to court to ensure oversight in Milton CN project

Court application to combat CN assertion project is exclusively under federal jurisdiction

Halton municipalities going to court to ensure oversight in Milton CN project
— CN
CN wants to put a new truck hub and rail yard next to south Milton homes
By David Lea, Milton Canadian Champion

Halton municipalities are going to court in an effort to make their voices heard with regard to the Canadian National Railway (CN) truck-rail hub project proposed for Milton.

At a news conference organized Feb. 21 the Region of Halton, City of Burlington, towns of Oakville, Halton Hills and Milton and Conservation Halton announced they are commencing a joint application in the Ontario courts to confirm their jurisdiction to review the possible impacts of the CN project.

Concern around the project has grown since CN announced it was moving forward with plans for the hub in January of 2015.

CN officials have previously stated the CN Milton Logistics Hub would be built parallel and adjacent to an existing CN Rail line between Britannia Road and Lower Baseline Road in Milton.

“We reject CN’s view. Let me be clear. We recognize that rail is a matter of federal jurisdiction, but it is abundantly clear that there are significant nonrail aspects to this project. For any project that is going to put 1,600 truck trips on the roads 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can bet we would be involved.”

Halton chair Gary Carr
If permitted, the terminal would be built on the west side of the 1,200-acre property taking up about 400 acres.

It would be located next to the Halton Waste Management Site and feature six tracks, including three service tracks and three pad tracks, which are used to load and unload containers off railcars.

The hub is intended to help meet the growing demand for consumer goods in the GTHA.

The facility would operate 24/7 and concerns have been raised about the noise, lighting and odour issues that nearby and planned residential areas may face as a result.

There would also be at least 1,600 truck trips to and from the facility each day, which has led some to worry about the impact to local roads including Britannia, Tremaine, Bronte and Dundas.

Other questions have also arisen about the impact this project will have on future employment lands and on environmentally sensitive lands in the project area.

click here
Halton Region chair Gary Carr said the Halton municipalities filed their court application after CN asserted the project is a matter of exclusive federal jurisdiction and that neither the province nor the municipalities have any regulator role with respect to it.

“We reject CN’s view,” said Carr.

“Let me be clear. We recognize that rail is a matter of federal jurisdiction, but it is abundantly clear that there are significant nonrail aspects to this project. For any project that is going to put 1,600 truck trips on the roads 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can bet we would be involved.”

Carr noted that while the region has yet to take an official position on the CN project they have learned enough about it to be concerned and have identified many areas of municipal and provincial government jurisdiction surrounding the project.

He said that if CN’s position were to be accepted and neither the province nor the municipalities could play a role there would be a regulatory gap since many of the areas of provincial or municipal interest are not covered by federal government oversight.

“That would mean CN, a for-profit company, would be self regulating in areas of provincial and municipal responsibility,” said Carr.

“That is totally unacceptable as we build and grow our community. CN’s absolute rejection of our municipal jurisdiction over this project has left us no choice, but to pursue legal action to confirm our legitimate role in regulating the project. Together Halton municipalities are committed to using our regulatory role to protect residents’ interests and the vision for our community.”

Carr said he has also written to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and asked for help regarding this important issue.

He noted the court application would seek a declaration confirming the legitimate role and jurisdiction of the province and the Halton municipalities with respect to CN’s proposed project.

Those present also heard from Milton Mayor Gord Krantz who noted that if CN succeeds in their position every mayor in Ontario should be worried.

“If this can happen in the Town of Milton, in the Region of Halton it can happen anywhere else in the province of Ontario,” he said.

“We are taking this very seriously. Who we do need is the province of Ontario because they are the ones who tell us how to regulate and how to plan. We have been doing that and have had a plan in place for the Town of Milton and the Region of Halton for many many years and then CN comes along and blows that out of the water.”

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring, Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette and Conservation Halton chair Gerry Smallegange were also present at the conference.

While CN declined to comment on the action being taken by the municipalities spokesperson Patrick Waldron said the existing framework would permit stakeholder voices to be heard.

"CN’s proposed $250 million investment in Milton remains the subject of a comprehensive federal regulatory review by a joint panel of the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. CN has engaged, and continues to engage, local and provincial governments, Aboriginal groups, and community members on the project itself, to discuss solutions to mitigate potential effects of the proposed hub, and on ways to enhance potential local benefits of this critical infrastructure project," said Waldron.

"The federal review process provides multiple opportunities for stakeholder input. The proposed project would provide much-needed infrastructure to facilitate the movement of goods through the region and across North America. One intermodal train can transport the equivalent of 280 long-distance heavy trucks, alleviating congestion on 400-series highways."

For more information visit halton.ca/cn.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: CN Rail-Truck Hub , Halton Regional Municipality

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