A court challenge is being launched by municipalities in Milton, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Oakville to see if they can fight a proposed Milton truck-rail project by Canadian National Railway (CN).
“It is inconceivable that a project could put 1,600 truck trips on area regional roads, but somehow be immune from review by the governments that run those roads, just because the project also involves rail aspects,” said Mayor Gordon Krantz.
“If CN succeeds in their position, it is something that every mayor in Ontario and Canada should be concerned about.”
CN reaffirmed plans for the $250 million, 400-acre Milton Logistics Hub about three years ago.
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The land is located east of Tremaine Rd. and south of Britannia Rd. in Milton.
A joint press conference was held on Wednesday by the Region of Halton, the Town of Milton, the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills and the Town of Oakville, and Conservation Halton.
They’re filing a joint court application to confirm their jurisdiction to review the impacts of the truck-rail project.
The project is a matter of exclusive federal jurisdiction – and neither the province nor the municipalities have any regulatory role with respect to it – according to CN.
CN is proposing to build a new truck – rail hub in the Town of Milton that will: develop 400 acres of a 1,200 acre lot of land with undisclosed plans for the remaining 800 acres; build a new mainline which will double the existing tracks and add over 20 kms of new rail yard track; result in 1,600 trips to and from the facility each day; and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The project is currently being assessed by a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Joint Review Panel Process.
“The Halton municipalities are committed to protecting resident interests and vision for our communities,” said Halton Region chair Gary Carr.
“CN’s absolute rejection of provincial and municipal government jurisdiction leaves the Halton municipalities no choice but to pursue legal action to confirm our legitimate role in assessing this project.”
The application will seek a declaration confirming the legitimate role and jurisdiction of the province and the Halton municipalities with respect to CN’s proposed project.
Halton municipalities say they’ve been cooperating since 2014 in assessing the project for potential effects relating to areas of provincial and municipal responsibility through the Federal Environmental Assessment process.
While the review isn’t yet complete, Halton’s municipal leaders say they’re concerned the project, located near existing and planned residential communities, could have major implications for the community of Halton.
More than 1,600 truck trips are planned for the site each day, resulting in local concerns for Halton residents such as traffic congestion, safety, noise, dust, lighting and environmental issues.
CN owns approximately 1,200 acres of land (485 ha) around its existing mainline rail in Milton.
The project includes new mainline rail to double track the existing line, plus adding over 20 km of new rail yard track. It also involves truck cargo loading and unloading.
Detailed information can be found here.
What do you think about the proposed truck-rail project?