CN Intermodal Facility

Posted on March 28th, 2015, by Jan

CN owns 1000 acres bounded by Tremaine to the west, Lower Baseline to the south and Britannia to the north.  CN has reopened the Milton Intermodel terminal proposal, years after they apparently abandoned the idea.

First of all, I have a problem that the mayor (could he have kept this from the councillors?) knew about this six months ago, before the last municipal election. And nobody said a word until now.

CN says it intends to develop only 400 of the 1000-acre parcel, and of that 400 only 100 will actually be used for the intermodal facility.  CN says the 400-acre piece will include berms with natural plantings, solar panels, LED and natural lighting, a bicycle trail, a thousand direct and indirect jobs, and – oh boy, it’s sounding like an extension of Disneyland, isn’t it?

The Disney bubble burst with the number of trucks Milton will see, hear and feel as they rumble by.

CN says this facility will take trucks off the freeway – sure, it will – off the freeway and dumped on Milton roads…

The presenter actually said 600, 800 or 900 trucks daily but we have to realize that the number is actually double that – if it’s 600 to 900 trucks in, it’s 600 to 900 trucks back out again.  So we could easily be talking about 1800 trucks traveling daily through the west end of urban Milton, past the proposed university, through heavy residential areas, along busy rural Milton roads – all day long, all week long, in fact , every single day of the year!  Let’s not even discuss any of those trucks negotiating that little traffic circle at Main and Tremaine.

Okay, keeping an open mind, let’s consider some of CN’s other claims about how great this will be for Milton:

  • 1000 direct and indirect jobs for Milton.  Sounds great.  We need jobs.  However, after a question from the audience, we learned that only 100 jobs would actually be at the Milton facility – 900 would be elsewhere.  1000 acres and only 100 jobs!  These lands are designated by the Town and Region as “Employment Lands”.  That can’t be a valid definition in anyone’s mind.
  • As for the berms (for noise mitigations), natural plantings, LED and solar panels, natural lighting – none of those things will enhance the lives of local residents.

So, back to the truck traffic: a CN executive vice president told me that their south Milton location is the best site because it will take such a vast number of trucks OFF the roads.  Think about that for a second.  For every “off” there has to be an “on”.  All those trucks coming OFF the freeway ON to Milton roads – and back again.

CN folk say that proximity to the highways is a major consideration.  Hmm.  I don`t see many of these trucks paying to use the 407, do you?  I think it’s safe to say the 407 is out of the question.  That their closest market would be along the 401, it would seem logical and natural to locate in Milton’s industrial lands north of the 401 – they’re flat and greenfield, though why greenfield is best for this kind of facility escapes me.

Speaking to the approval process: federal rules determine the success of this application, not municipal nor regional or provincial laws.  CN says it will abide by a federal environmental review process but given this government’s stand on environmental issues, an environmental review doesn’t give me any comfort.

I am contesting the Milton NDP federal nomination.  If I am successful on April 28th, and successful in the election this year, I will fight this application with everything at my command.  Meanwhile, I stand firmly against this proposal for the sake of our environment, for the sake of our residents, for what’s right.

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