Time once again to send a message – no road through our Escarpment – Get it?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 10, 2012   How many times do we have to tell those guys at Queen’s Park that we don’t want a highway going through the Escarpment.  Not now – not ever.

This is what we understand the Ministry of Transportation is putting forward as possible options for a road that will handle the traffic coming out of the Fort Erie part of the province and get it into the GTA – some of it through Burlington. Not on says the Mayor and the Regional Chair.  The gray areas represent where a road could be located.  That one to the right – the long thin one – that’s Burlington country.


The bureaucrats are in the final stage of preparing their recommendations which are believed to now be in the hands of the Minister of Transportation who will review the documents and eventually take something to someone and make a decision.

Burlington doesn’t want to give the government any reason to think we have changed our minds or that the government is going to be able to grind us down and is holding yet another public meeting to get our message to Queen’s Park.

Mainway Recreation Centre – 7:00 pm October 23rd

Some people wonder why there has to be public meeting after public meeting to convince a provincial government that a community doesn’t want what the government is proposing.  Don’t governments just do what they want to do anyway.  Actually no – public input can and has made the difference in the past.

The airport in Pickering never got built because of public protest.  The Spadina Expressway was stopped in its tracks because of public protest.  On that one, the then Premier Bill Davis made a decision, that all but stopped the Spadina from ever happening.

If the public keeps pushing back – the government does hear.

Regional Chair Gary Carr puts what we are faced with in perspective when he says: “For almost 10 years, Halton Region, the City of Burlington and a core group of concerned residents have been advocating against a new Provincial highway that would cut through the Escarpment in North Burlington”.

This is the Escarpment we are talking about. Our country, our rural country – forever.

“Halton Regional Council has fought hard to protect and preserve our environment and agricultural community.” “The proposed Provincial highway through Burlington would not only decimate our prime agricultural resource, it would also devastate the Niagara Escarpment and the Ontario Greenbelt. We are committed to advocating to the Province to protect our rural communities to ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.”

Carr adds that “Halton Regional Council has consistently and unanimously opposed a new highway crossing the Niagara Escarpment since it was first proposed by the Province. Despite political promises made, the Provincial Environmental Assessment (EA) for this plan still includes a possible route across the escarpment. With the Provincial Ministry of Transportation preparing to release their EA study findings, Halton Region and the City of Burlington, in conjunction with the Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition (SEHC) is hosting a public meeting to update residents on the Provincial process and hear feedback.

“We’ve worked hard to make sure the Province understands our position on this – we oppose any highway that would cut across the Niagara Escarpment,” said Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring. “Such a highway will irreparably damage the Greenbelt, the Escarpment and the very character of Burlington. I encourage residents to add their voices to this issue.”

These are the stages the province wants the process of deciding if there is going to be a highway – and if there is going to be one – where will it go. The public is a part of this process – don’t lose your opportunity to speak – bring your children to the meeting – they will be fighting this battle 15 years from now.

The Ministry of Transportation is expected to release the findings of their study shortly.  Regional Chair Carr and Burlington Mayor Goldring want to get a few words into the ear of the Minister before the recommendations are made public.  The meeting with the Minister of Transportation is scheduled to take place before the public meeting on the 23rd.  Carr says it is for some time next week, but the government might fall before then.. If the meeting does take place perhaps they will come back with some good news.

The people organizing the meeting on the 23rd have invited Burlington’s representative in the Legislature, opposition member Jane McKenna, who is getting quite a bit better at making a point when she wants to.  Expect her to work at gaining some political points at the meeting.

If the province finds itself in an election (and that is going to happen sooner rather than later) and they decide to announce a road is going to be built – forget getting the Burlington seat into the Liberal camp.

Expect to see some kind of a mealy mouthed statement from the province.





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2 comments to Time once again to send a message – no road through our Escarpment – Get it?

  • James Smith

    Curious: how our civicl leaders who cut Transit funding are so very much anti highway.
    Curiouser: to travel from Guelph to either The Hammer or Burlie on the GO one must GO EAST to Square One in Mississagua then GO West to one’s destination .
    More Curious still: No mention of improved Transit in this discussion.
    Historical Tidbit:
    When I attended Guelph University in the 1970’s there was a lot of talk about a Highway 406; they built it & called it the Hanlon Parkway. Story around campus then was there were too many of Bill Davis’ Pals south of the 401.

  • If I’m not mistaken, this venture was established quite some time ago before the Liberals were even in power …

    ALL lobbying political parties must be made aware that the majority of residents of Burlington and Halton oppose this ‘Over the Escarpment’ initiative. End of.
    Editors note: You are quite right – this idea first came to the surface in a serious way when Mike Harris was Premier.