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Hamilton cautious in NGTA highway process

By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 Alarm bells may be ringing for Flamborough residents over what they believe is the province’s goal to build a highway through their community.

ButHamiltoncouncillors remain wary in rushing to make any decision without the necessary hard facts to act upon.

“We don’t know whereHamiltonis in their discussions,” said Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie. “I’m not sure we should leave it up to Halton (Region) andBurlington(to fight the highway). We need Hamilton representation.”

Susan McMaster, co-chair of the groups Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment and Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition, told politicians at their Nov. 21 government issues committee, her organization believes the Transportation Ministry’s Environment Assessment Study, is recommending to the provincial government to build the Niagara-to-GTA corridor through parts of Ancaster, Flamborough, and Halton, hooking up to Highway 401. She said the Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli will make a decision about the MTO recommendation sometime in 2013.

McMaster said any of the three options to build the highway examined by the MTO involves cutting across prime rural countryside and will “devastate” Flamborough.

Her organizations say the NTGA study, which has been ongoing for the last decade, is “severely flawed, antiquated” and doesn’t examine alternative options. They recommend improving current transportation routes, and expand non-road structures, such as rail, and bus transportation alternatives.

McHattie, along with Flamborough councillor Robert Pasuta, said the proposed routes through Flamborough were shocking, since it will harm the environment, destroy wetlands, and batter the Niagara Escarpment.

“It’s devastating to see the routes through Ancaster and Flamborough,” said Pasuta.

Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge said a community meeting held inCarlislein 2010 attracted about 200 people. Subsequently, politicians agreed to send a letter to the transportation ministry, requesting Flamborough and the northern portion ofBurlingtonbe removed from the study area.

Public Works General Manager Gerry Davis said the city has requested MTO officials to attend a council meeting, but a time has yet to be scheduled.

Politicians approved a motion requesting provincial and Metrolinx officials appear before a future council meeting.

According to the NGTA website, a further round of public meetings was scheduled to be held this fall. Consultations with stakeholders are to be held until January 2013.

 

 

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