CN Intermodal Approved by Cabinet

By: Laura Steiner
The CN Intermodal has been approved by Cabinet.  It was the final hurdle in a six year approval process.  The approval was announced by Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson late yesterday afternoon.
“Today’s decision to approve the Milton Logistics Hub Project, which is subject to a wide range of conditions that the Proponent must comply with to protect human health and the environment, demonstrates that the federal regulatory process meets the economic and environmental objectives of Canadians at the same time,” Wilkinson said.  The project is subjected to a list of 325 legally binding conditions, including the implementation of a community liaison process, and requiring consultation on issues such as truck traffic, as well as requirement to legally notify stakeholders including area municipalities of a change in ownership.
The CN Intermodal was first announced in March, 2015 as a 400 acre facility in south Milton.   The idea behind it was to transfer goods from trains to trucks in order to ship through the Greater Toronto Area. The Region, as well as all four Halton Municipalities have been been opposed to it.  “It is unconscionable that the Federal Government would approve this project despite findings from its own federal review panel that the project will cause significant adverse effects on human and environmental health.  There has never been  a decision like this.”  Concerns have been raised over truck traffic, light pollution, and the health effects.  The federal government argues that it will reduce emissions including greenhouse gases.
The municipalities also objected on the grounds of urban development.  The Region of Halton had it zoned for strategic employment- an area similar to the surroundings of 401 and highway 25.  The area on the north side of Britannia Rd is part of the Boyne Survey in the Town of Milton.  “How could the federal government disregard the concerns of the community and allow a project like this within one kilometer of approximately 34,000 current and future residents, including one hospital, 12 schools, and two long-term care homes,” Mayor Gord Krantz said.
CN argued they should go through a federally regulated process because they are a federally regulated industry instead of the processes outlined in provincial planning legislation.   There is an ongoing court challenge over jurisdictional issues.
van Koeverden Vows to Continue Fighting against CN
Milton MP Adam van Koeverden has promised to keep fighting.  “The health, safety, and wellbeing of Miltonians is my number one concern.  The 325  legally binding conditions set out by the Minister today represent some reasonable progress.  The result is that this Intermodal project cannot go forward as it was presented by CN” he said in a statement published on his website.
van Koeverden presented a petition on behalf of Milton Says No, and Milton Residents Affected by Intermodal Locations (Milton RAIL).   Milton RAIL founder Rita Vogel Post released a video statement posted on Facebook.  “We disagree with the decision that was made today approving the CN Intermodal logistics hub,” she said.  Post has been fighting against the Intermodal for 20 years.  CN previously announced an attempt to build the same facility, but gave up in 2008.  “The decision made today is not fair.”
Wilkinson, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have both made recent comments stressing a healthier, fairer, and more resilient future.   Vogel Post calls Wilkinson out on it, and asks him to reconsider his decision on the Intermodal.  “If you have the power to do so, please do so,” she said.  The proposal still has to clear approval by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) .  The full video will be on our Facebook Page.