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Published on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Oakville council again calls for say in Milton CN project

Council unanimously votes to ask province to join them in court challenge

Oakville council again calls for say in Milton CN project
CN rail track. - Metroland photo
By David Lea, Oakville Beaver

The Town of Oakville is again calling for a seat at the table when it comes to the Canadian National Railway truck-rail hub project proposed for Milton.

During an April 30 council meeting Oakville councillors voted unanimously to pass a motion, which called for a co-operative approach to all developments that engage federal, provincial and municipal regulatory matters.

Concern around the project has grown since CN announced it was moving forward with plans for the hub in January of 2015.

CN officials have previously stated the CN Milton Logistics Hub would be built parallel and adjacent to an existing CN Rail line between Britannia Road and Lower Baseline Road in Milton.

“The Halton municipalities and Conservation Halton recognize that railways are a matter of federal jurisdiction, but assert that truck-rail developments have non-rail aspects that engage multiple areas of provincial and municipal government regulatory responsibility.”

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

If permitted, the terminal would be built on the west side of the 1,200-acre property taking up about 400 acres.

It would be located next to the Halton Waste Management Site and feature six tracks, including three service tracks and three pad tracks, which are used to load and unload containers off rail cars.

The hub is intended to help meet the growing demand for consumer goods in the GTHA.

The facility would operate 24/7 and concerns have been raised about the noise, lighting and odour issues the nearby and planned residential areas may face as a result.

While the project may be in Milton, councillors in Oakville are worried about the 1,600 truck trips to and from the facility each day.

These trucks would travel on local roads including Bronte Road and Dundas Street to get to their destinations.

The council vote follows CN’s assertion that the project is a matter of exclusive federal jurisdiction and that neither the province nor the surrounding municipalities have any regulator role with respect to it.

The Oakville council motion challenges that perception stating the existence of federal regulation over a development does not preclude and may require provincial and municipal regulation of the proposed development to avoid regulatory gaps.

“CN’s position that its proposed truck-rail development falls exclusively under federal jurisdiction, if upheld, would create a regulatory gap that would prevent the Province of Ontario, the Halton municipalities and Conservation Halton from discharging their statutory responsibilities, and leave CN Rail, a for-profit company, to self-regulate on matters that engage provincial and municipal responsibilities,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.

“The Halton municipalities and Conservation Halton recognize that railways are a matter of federal jurisdiction, but assert that truck-rail developments have non-rail aspects that engage multiple areas of provincial and municipal government regulatory responsibility.”

Burton noted the proposed development would have a direct impact on the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the municipality and health, safety and well-being of residents and called on the Government of Ontario in the motion to join Halton municipalities in their court application to confirm their legitimate regulatory role in this project.

At a news conference organized Feb. 21 the Region of Halton, City of Burlington, towns of Oakville, Halton Hills and Milton and Conservation Halton announced they are commencing a joint application in the Ontario courts to get their jurisdiction to review the possible impacts of the CN project.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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