By Kevin Werner
METROLAND WEST MEDIA GROUP
Alarm bells may be ringing for Flamborough residents over what they believe is the province’s goal to build a highway through their community. But Hamilton councillors remain wary of rushing to make any decision without the necessary facts.
“We don’t know where Hamilton is in their discussions,” said Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie. “I’m not sure we should leave it up to Halton (Region) and Burlington (to fight the highway). We need Hamilton representation.”
Susan McMaster, co-chair of the groups Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment and Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition, told politicians at their Nov. 21 general issues committee meeting that her organizations believe the Ministry of Transportation’s Environmental Assessment Study is recommending that the province build a portion of the Niagara-to-GTA (NGTA) corridor through parts of Ancaster, Flamborough and Halton, hooking up to Hwy. 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 highway options examined by the MTO involves cutting across prime rural countryside and will “devastate” Flamborough.
Her organizations say the NGTA 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 expanding non-road structures, such as rail, and exploring bus transportation alternatives.
McHattie, along with Flamborough councillor Robert Pasuta, said the proposed routes through Flamborough were shocking, since any route would 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 on the topic, held in Carlisle in 2010, attracted about 200 people. Subsequently, politicians agreed to send a letter to the MTO, requesting Flamborough and the northern portion of Burlington be removed from the study area.
Public works general manager Gerry Davis said the city has asked 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.