We are going to hand over the reins of this post to Bruce Mackenzie, a local and noted naturalist who has championed conservation of natural resources both here in Grimsby and around the province. You might recognize his name as part of Hawkwatch, saving the Biggar Lagoons bird habitat or his dedication to preserving the woodlot.
He wrote us on the recent public information centres (PICs) held by the region on the two Environmental Assessments being conducted for Casablanca and Livingston Avenue. You can read about the PIC by clicking here.
Mr. Mackenzie’s correspondence is below:
14 Lanes Are Enough
Highway 401 has 15 east/west lanes of traffic at Keele St in Toronto. There are 17 lanes of east/west traffic between Hyde Park and the shoreline on Lake Ontario in Toronto. In Grimsby with less than 30,000 people there are 14 lanes of east/west traffic between Main St (Hwy #8) and Winston Rd in Grimsby’s west end. These are divided between Main St., the two Service Roads, the QEW and Winston Rd.
The Region of Niagara with its Environmental Assessment for the extension of Livingston Ave west of Casablanca Blvd is proposing to increase the number of lanes to 17. Another 3 lanes for what?
It is only 1.1 km along Oakes Rd from Main St to Winston Rd in this narrow strip of land and there are already 14 lanes of traffic, a public school, sports fields, the CN Train Line and employment lands. There is no room or need for another arterial road.
On June 20th the Region of Niagara held a combined Public Information Centre (PIC) for two Environmental Assessments, one for improvements to Casablanca Blvd from Main St to the North Service Rd and the other for the Extension of Livingston Ave from Casablanca Blvd to Oakes Rd.
There were two parts to the PIC. The public could review various display boards presented by the Region and its consultant, Dillion Consultants. The second part was a verbal presentation by the consultant staff with a question and answer period. The PIC which took place at the Casablanca Winery Inn was well attended by the public.
At the link below you can view the display panels that were presented at the PIC. There was a lot of information in the panels and not much time to absorb the details before the presentation part of the PIC.
It was announced that there would be a second PIC in the fall, but no date was provided. It is important for citizens to get their concerns sent in to the consultants and the Regional staff over the summer.
It was stated that input from the public is an important part of the EA process. The budget for these two EAs and the final construction tender document is $1,000,000.00. With this much money being spent before a shovel is put into the ground it is important for the citizens to have their input known.
During the public discussion period the consultant said that the wording in the advertisement for the 2018 Livingston EA which said the purpose of the EA was to “confirm the need for the road”, should have been shown as “a need to develop an east west transportation strategy”. This was stated after citizens complained that it appeared that the Livingston Ave EA was already a done deal.
Please remember that both EA’s were originally started in May of 2014, but a PIC was never held for either one of them and the Region never advertised that the EA’s were “put into abeyance.” The public was not provided with an opportunity to speak in a public forum about the 2014 EA’s. This time we all have a chance. Your attendance at the second PIC will be very important… whenever it is announced.
During the first EA for the extension of Livingston Ave a written petition was signed by 925 people stating their opposition to the extension of Livingston Ave. A copy of this petition was provided to Regional Council.
During the Greenbelt Review over 860 written comments were received by the Greenbelt review office from citizens supporting the Greenbelt in the west end of Grimsby and objecting to the extension of Livingston Ave into the Greenbelt and the Tender Fruit Lands remaining in Grimsby.
At the PIC citizens also commented on the confusion by combining the PIC for Casablanca Blvd EA with the Livingston EA. The consultants said that in the future PIC’s (2 or 3) for the EA’s would be held separately. This is very important. The staff at the Region and Grimsby’s Regional Councillor, Mr. Tony Quirk, need to be told in no uncertain terms that the extension of Livingston Ave is not needed and not wanted.
In August 2017 the Town Council of Grimsby passed a motion indicating that it would await for an Environmental Assessment to be completed before the Town Council would inform the Region as to whether or not the extension of Livingston Ave is to be included in the Region’s Transportation Master Plan. So, the decision lies with us to tell Grimsby Town Council to say no to the extension of Livingston Ave.
It is our time to tell the members of Town Council again that the extension of Livingston Ave is not wanted or needed. Every Alderman and the Mayor have an equal vote on this issue. They will never be thanked for supporting the extension of Livingston Ave into the Greenbelt.
It is important for everyone to get their emails and letters in now before the second PIC or else the consultant will report that few comments were received from the public.
During the PIC the consultants said that the South Service Rd and Main St. (Hwy #8) would be considered in the review for the east west strategy. We must stress that these roads already exist and can easily accommodate the east west traffic with the other existing roads. Previously it was estimated by the Region that the Livingston Ave extension would cost in excess of $10,000,000.00 in 2017 dollars. Is this really a good way of spending your tax dollars in Grimsby? Who really wants this road? The GO Station will work just fine without it.
There was a strong feeling expressed that this road proposal into the Greenbelt is simply an attempt to divide up the Greenbelt in the west end of Grimsby. A death by a thousand cuts.
Listed below are the email addresses that you may like to use for your communications. Should the politicians and staff not hear from the citizens then all may be lost.
|Carolyn Ryall||Regional Staff Contact||Carolyn.Ryall@niagararegion.ca|
|Paul MacLeod||Region’s Consultant for the EA’firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Tony Quirk||Grimsby’s Regional Councilloremail@example.com|
|Bob Bentley||Mayor of Grimsbyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Carolyn Mullins||Grimsby Alderman Ward email@example.com|
|Nick DiFlavio||Grimsby Alderman Ward firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Michelle Seaborn||Grimsby Alderman Ward email@example.com|
|Dave Kadwell||Grimsby Alderman Ward firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Steve Berry||Grimsby Alderman Ward email@example.com|
|Dave Wilson||Grimsby Alderman Ward firstname.lastname@example.org|
|John Dunstall||Grimsby Alderman Ward email@example.com|
|Joanne Johnson||Grimsby Alderman Ward firstname.lastname@example.org|
This guest column was prepared by Bruce Mackenzie. He can be reached at email@example.com