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HEN - Halton Environmental Network

Weekly Bulletin

Nov. 11, 2015

Environmental Group of the Week:


Milton R.A.I.L. (Residents Affected by Intermodal Lines)


When CN (Canadian National Railway) first announced their original proposal in 2001, we—like so many people—had no idea what an intermodal terminal was. We did some research and immediately realized the tremendous impact an intermodal terminal would have, not only to those adjacent to the proposed facility, but to all of Milton and Halton Region. The RAIL group rallied together and researched intermodal terminals in North America and their impacts on the environment, health and safety and the local communities. RAIL would like the public to be aware of the resulting hazards and effects this site could have to the entire area. We feel this includes ALL of Halton Region.  RAIL has a long history researching and working to inform the community of the potential impacts. Our history is noted on our website and with Halton Region, the Town of Milton and the Federal Government.


With the recent announcement in 2015, CN's proposes to build a 400-acre intermodal terminal, now rebranded as a "Logistics Hub.” This was a surprise as CN had announced in 2008 that they no longer intended to build the terminal in Milton. RAIL feels that this will have an even greater negative impact on Milton and Halton Region, as our beautiful Halton community has grown substantially. The official plans of the Town and Region have been revised for growth, BUT NOT to accommodate this terminal. Remember MORE THAN FIVE MILLION TAXPAYERS’ DOLLARS were spent to develop the Official Plans for both the Town of Milton and Halton Region—a plan to organize and provide citizens with the very best place to “Live, Work, Play!”—a visionary plan for those of us here today, and for the communities’ future growth and for generations to come.


Canadian National Railway is proposing to build an Intermodal Terminal to be located in the southern part of Milton. This facility is expected to be up and running by the end of 2018.  It would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year!  (24/7/365)


We stand firmly; the project needs to fit within the local plans, in an area already zoned industrial.


We believe an intermodal terminal should be located immediately adjacent to a major toll free highway on land already zoned for industrial use–NOT adjacent to residents nor near a hospital or schools, NOT in the middle of the community. An intermodal terminal is a Class III Industrial facility; known to emit the highest levels of noise, around the clock light, dust and particulates.


In the Halton Official Plan, the land around this area is for residential development and future employment land. It is for people to live and work, not an intermodal terminal bringing thousands of trucks, noise, light trespass, environmental impacts, as well as safety and security issues!


The Brampton terminal is 200 acres and at this time takes 2000+ trucks a day. CN recently stated that the numbers have since increased 68%. This proposed intermodal terminal is to be 400 acres. CN states 1500+ trucks a day. Simple math will give us a different number.


We have graphics on our site to illustrate some of these points:

  • 1500 trucks equal to are more than 29 km of traffic. To illustrate this point we have created a map with a line that encircles Milton.

  • 1500 trucks could weigh more than 99,000,000 lbs. The impact on our local and regional roads would be significant and we as Halton taxpayers are responsible for this additional expense to our community. CN is not responsible for infrastructure development or repairs. This responsibility is left with the taxpayers.

  • There are environmental concerns, including noise, dust and potential spills from accidents. Indian Creek runs through this proposed site. Indian Creek connects with Bronte Creek, which runs into Lake Ontario. We are concerned with the possible impacts to the environment and our health.

  • There are concerns for safety on our roads. 1500+ additional intermodal trucks added to our local roads each and everyday. Plus additional trucks from the 5-7 million square feet of additional warehouse space CN feels will come with the development of the terminal

  • Future tax revenue generated from this proposed development does not compare favorably to the local communities. The revenue generated with the development of Business Employment land as in the Town and Region’s Official Plans would be much higher and therefore better for our local towns and, therefore us, as taxpayers.

  • The increase in truck traffic will Impact on tourism.

Our Concerns are many. Please visit our site to learn more. Invite your friends, family and loved ones to read the information. Become active, become involved, your future in Milton depends on it. Write letters, sign the petition get involved.



To date CN has not made an application to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), but has applied to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA); as legally required.  The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, former Minister of the Environment, former Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and former Minister for the Arctic Council, announced the referral of the environmental assessment of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project in Ontario to an independent review panel.


Milton RAIL continues to do research to look at the impacts that may arise with the development of CN's proposed intermodal terminal.
























CN Intermodal Hub Changes Everything

Are any of the changes (as CN would like us to believe) good for Milton?  You be the judge.


  • CN states that the planned hub is located “Close to 400 series highways for truck-haul routes”. The closest non-toll highway access to the CN terminal is 10+ kilometres. From there truckers will have to make their way to the CN Hub, passing through our neighbourhoods.

  • If CN is allowed to build an Intermodal Hub in Milton, there will be 1500+ huge freight trucks driving along Highway 25 or James Snow Parkway and then Britannia Road every day of the year, 24-hours a day.

  • There will be a constant rumble of truck noise in our neighbourhoods.  This could be disturbing to your sleep.  CN states: “CN will control the route of up to 20% of the facility vehicle traffic as those vehicles are CN property. The travel routes of CN controlled vehicles can be planned to minimize road vehicle emissions impact.”


There are two problems with this assurance:

First - CN's train traffic safety record is less than stellar, so why would we be comforted by their assurances that safety will be better with their trucks, and;

Second - They will only have control over 20% of the trucks.  That leaves 80% of trucks that they will have no control over. 

  • There will be increased dust particles floating in our air, causing lung and breathing problems.

  • There will be diesel emissions (a Class I carcinogen which causes cancer) causing air pollution.

  • We will not know for certain what products the intermodal containers hold.  If they have a slow leak, while either on the trains or trucks, our environment could be damaged.  It would then be our cost to find the culprit and have charges laid.  This is difficult and costly.  

  • There will be damages to our roads from the great number of heavy truckloads. The road repair expenses will fall to the taxpayers – local land and business owners.

  • There will be increased traffic congestion and gridlock, causing extra stress as citizens try to go about their daily activities.

  • 1500+ truck trailers are equal to more than 30 km of additional trucks daily. Think of the line of vehicles waiting to turn at all traffic lights on the routes mentioned above.

CN says their facility will provide extra tax revenue to the town.  Actually:

1. They are protected from the local tax base, being under federal rules. They therefore pay much less than local residents or business owners.

2. The land south of Britannia has been designated by the town and region for land use rated at a much higher tax revenue base when developed. This will not be possible if CN builds the hub, resulting in a tax loss, which will have to be collected from the rest of us.

3. The negative changes to the area as a result of the hub will decrease property values. This will decrease the tax base for our town even further, likely causing an increase in our tax bills.














Your Voice Matters!


Please know this is NOT a done deal – get involved – your support is invaluable to the cause.

  • Share this with friends, family neighbours and co-workers

  • Sign the petition, collect petition signatures from people in Halton

  • Read the sample letters provided on

  • Write, email or phone the elected officials – Your voice matters and your letters count!

  • Visit both the Milton RAIL Website and Facebook page.

  • Sign up for Milton RAIL newsletters and announcements.

  • Do this for you and your family and do it for future generations!




Why are we concerned?

How could this affect YOU?


What is a logistics hub or an intermodal terminal?

An intermodal terminal is a facility where huge containers are transferred to and from trucks and trains.


CN’s proposal for the Milton development includes:
  • Preliminary construction of a 400 acre Logistics Hub, with room for expansion.

  • 1500+ transport truck trips daily, to start!

  • A class three industrial development on a 1000-acre parcel of land planned for other development - NOT INDUSTRIAL USE!

  • Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,

  • 365 days a year.

  • Incompatible to current developments and contrary to the Official Plan of the Town of Milton and Halton Region.


Potential lasting impacts of this development:
  • Accidents: Dramatic increase in traffic volume resulting in increased potential of accidents.

  • Air Pollution: 1500+ additional trucks driving on our roads and idling at the yard, spewing diesel emissions (a Class One Carcinogen, known to increase cancer risks).

  • Continuous Operations: Constant truck traffic, as the facility operation is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

  • Commuting Times Increase: Increase in train length and dramatic increase in truck traffic lead to safety concerns; and increase in delays at rail crossings. GRIDLOCK!!

  • Emergency Preparedness: Increased response times for fire, ambulance & police.

  • Environmental Impact: noise, light, dust, particulate matter, water pollution, odour, vibration, impact to wildlife, plants, fish and residents.

  • Financial Impact: Potential decrease in property values. Insurance rates may increase; and municipal taxes would increase to pay for infrastructure development and road maintenance.

  • Health: Diesel emissions are a Class I Carcinogen known to cause cancer! Imagine1500+ truck trips per day, 24/7/365.

  • Health and Safety: Consider the implication of the unknown contents of intermodal containers stored at yard and passing through, could this pose health, security and terrorist threats?

  • Pollution: Air, noise, light pollution, dust and particulate matter will dramatically increase.

  • Quality of Life: Proximity to residential development: air pollution, noise, lights, dust, ground vibrations, odor and safety concerns.

  • Safety: Increased traffic volume makes local roads less safe for everyone. An increase in response times for emergency vehicles, traffic safety concerns due to traffic congestion and road deterioration, as well as health implications due to pollution.

  • Road Deterioration: Up to 99,000,000 additional pounds of truck and container traffic on our local roads each and every day (29 km of trucks). Consider 1500+ trucks beating up our local roads each day!

  • Taxes: Substantial road deterioration. Increased Municipal taxes due to the additional cost for infrastructure development and repairs required due to intermodal terminal truck traffic - CN does NOT pay.

  • Tourism: View from the escarpment will change forever. Consider how could this impact tourism?

  • Traffic GRIDLOCK: 1500+ additional transport truck trips per day – TO START! Using the roads YOU drive on each day.

  • Water Pollution: Spills and contaminations from yard activity; accumulation of dust and particulate matter.




Panel Review Process / An Environmental Assessment by a Review Panel
Regarding the CN Proposed Logistics Hub Project  - 80100


The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, former Minister of the Environment, former Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and former Minister for the Arctic Council, announced June 20, 2015 the referral of the environmental assessment of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project in Ontario to an independent review panel.


The decision to refer the environmental assessment of the project to an independent review panel was made after considering its potential to cause significant adverse environmental effects and concerns expressed by the public and Aboriginal groups in relation to these effects.


The Minister has set timelines for the environmental assessment of the project as follows:

  • Review panel to be established (pre-panel phase) is 150 days (5 months) from the date of the referral of the project.

  • Review panel to submit its report (panel phase) is 430 days (14 months) from the date of the establishment of the review panel.

  • Federal Minister's decision statement (post-panel phase) is 150 days (5 months) from the date of the submission of the review panel’s report.


The above timelines do not include the time the proponent takes to complete its work or gather information required for the environmental assessment.


Quick Facts: The Canadian National Railway Company is proposing the construction and operation of a railway yard with more than 20 kilometres of track located in Milton, Ontario, about 50 kilometres west of Toronto.

Information on the project and the environmental assessment process is available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, reference number 80100.


For the Milton project, the next step is a Comment period on draft review panel terms of reference and joint review panel agreement.


10.  Comment period on draft review panel terms of reference and joint review panel agreement, if applicable – For a federal-only review panel, the Agency will prepare draft terms of reference for the review panel and conduct a public comment period. For a joint review panel, the Agency will work with the other jurisdiction to draft a joint review panel agreement, including terms of reference, and conduct a joint public comment period on this document. The terms of reference establish the mandate and authorities of the review panel, as well as the procedures and timelines for the review panel.


The Draft Terms of Reference for the Review Panel will be available for public comment in the coming months. It will outline the general process steps for the review, specific timelines, and what the review panel will be required to consider. The Terms of Reference may include variations from the process described in the Basics of Environmental Assessment link, as appropriate for this assessment. 
Link to:


There is currently no deadline for the Minister to appoint the members of the Review Panel. The pre-panel phase is set to last up to 5 months, but that time will only start once CN submits its Environmental Impact Statement to the Agency.



Let Your Voice Be Heard:  Write - Email - Call! 

The next step is a Panel Review Process. You may sign up for our Milton Rail newsletter to learn more. Send an email to and type “Add me” in the subject line, to be included.


RAIL is launching a gofundme campaign to raise funds to market information to the community of Halton Region. If you are interested in supporting RAIL please visit:


Please become informed, support Milton R.A.I.L. (Residents Affected by Intermodal Lines). We invite you to visit and share the links below. Feel free to visit our website, Like our FB page and follow us on Twitter.



RAIL links to specific pages:



RAIL Flyers:!rail-flyers/c1eyp


Map Location – the proposed site:!map-location/cidv


Postcard Campaign – We are happy to provide you with cards:!postcards/yt3vk


Subscribe to our Email – we do not share our mailing list and you may unsubscribe at any time:!subscribe/cicr


Community Partners: If you would like to be added to our website as a community partner and list your organization please send us an email for more information. You will be asked to provide links to your site and pages, your logo and a brief description of your organization.  You may send a message to and we will be in contact with you.


RAIL vigorously opposes the development of CN’s proposed Logistics Hub in Milton, Ontario. RAIL has serious and legitimate concerns with, the potential impact it will have to residents of Milton and Halton Region.  Some of our concerns include: impact to our environment; air quality; safety issues; and the effect to our quality of life. RAIL appreciates the value of intermodal when placed in an appropriate location. An Intermodal terminal is a Class III industrial facility, which belongs on existing industrial land already planned for such development and with IMMEDIATE highway access!


RAIL sincerely appreciates your support and recognizes HEN’s interest in protecting communities.




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