Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette, an early opponent of the proposed Greater Toronto Area (GTA) West highway, recently expressed that he was pleased after the project was designated for assessment under the Federal Impact Assessment Act.
The proposal comes from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to construct and maintain a new 400 series highway; a project that has been revived since its cancellation by the former Liberal government.
The proposed GTA West highway, which would be called highway 413 upon completion, would pass through the municipalities of Vaughan, Caledon Brampton, and Halton Hills.
Specifically, it would be 60 km long and run west from Vaughan towards Georgetown.
A recent letter from Jonathan Wilkinson, P.C., M.P., Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, stated that the basis for designating the project was its potential to cause harmful effects on the habitat of species at risk.
Wilkinson also took into account concerns expressed by the public, Indigenous groups and municipalities and the Town of Halton Hills.
These concerns include the project’s environmental impacts, as its construction would mean paving over 2,000 acres of the province’s farmland.
“Council for the Town of Halton Hills has consistently expressed its opposition to this proposed highway for many years,” said Mayor Bonnette.
“This 400 series highway is old thinking and should not trump environmental concerns that threaten key species and natural habitat. Thank you to Minister Wilkinson for designating the GTA West highway. I ask that the impact assessment proceed as quickly as possible so communities can plan with certainty.”
For more than a decade, communities have been dealing with the uncertainties of whether or not this highway will proceed.
While some municipalities, including the City of Mississauga, have expressed opposition, the province believes this project to be necessary in order to help prevent congestion as well as keep up with Ontario’s projected expansion.