Milton R.A.I.L Letter to Federal Cabinet Ministers
Sample below is to The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, P.C., M.P..
Each Cabinet Minister on the Committee received this letter.
January 2, 2021
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Economy and the Environment
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Jonathan.Wilkinson@parl.gc.ca | Telephone: 613-995-1225 | Fax: 613-992-7319
Re: CN Logistic Hub proposed for Milton, ON
To The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and all Cabinet Members:
We urgently, and respectfully request you, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and your Cabinet colleagues, reject the proposal of the CN Logistic Hub.
My name is Rita Vogel Post. I am a resident of Milton, Ontario and Chair of Milton RAIL (Residents Affected by Intermodal Lines), formed in 2001. We have been standing up against CN's proposal for an intermodal logistics hub planned for Milton for nearly 20 years.
We should first inform you that we are not opposed to intermodal transport, truck transport or the rail industry. However, we insist these rail yards must be on industrial zoned land with immediate access to a major highway. Not near residential nor farming communities.
The Environmental Assessment determined a Panel Review Process was required as there are many severe impact issues with the project.
The review panel found Significant Adverse Environmental Effects on human health that are unmitigable. Human life and the environment will suffer.
The Panel also identified six potentially significant adverse effects on human and environmental health as well as a risk for at least 16 additional potentially harmful effects, including the impact of noise on residential communities.
The project would expose Halton residents to PM 2.5, which is "inherently dangerous and unsafe at any level of exposure." There is no way to mitigate the significant health effects that CN would cause by this project.
We are currently awaiting a decision from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and his Cabinet colleagues. Two extensions have been announced: a 90-day extension announcement on September 21, 2020, and a 30-day announcement extension on December 21, 2020. However, our advocacy towards stopping this project continues.
Currently, governments worldwide are restricting community contact and business interaction to protect us all from the potential impacts of the worldwide Corona Virus pandemic; HUMAN HEALTH MATTERS! It is also clear that the health of citizens is more important than economic impact. We expect the same consideration for our community and communities across Canada. We can build back our economy; however, we may not recover from severe health impacts imposed upon us. If you choose to approve the project, you choose to sacrifice our health and future. We ask you this; how will you compensate those impacted? People will become sick. Health care costs and needs for residents will increase. Please keep this in mind when evaluating environmental, health and financial impacts due to the CN Logistic Hub proposed for Milton.
Our stand against this location is NOT a NIMBY issue, as the outcome of this decision will impact future rail developments. We maintain our stand and do so for not only our community but those across Canada. Not one community is to be sacrificed; human health matters; help show us this to be true. We look to you for support on this most serious matter.
We recognize the irony when railways proclaim intermodal takes trucks off the road. That may be accurate; however, we have yet to be presented with documented research to prove that statement. In the meantime, all of the trucks, "taken off the road," are now concentrated to one location. The emissions now concentrated in one place while impacting residential areas.
Within one kilometre of the proposed location reside 34,000 people one hospital, twelve schools and two long-term care homes, within 1 km of the proposed site.
Beyond 1 km is still an even greater population. An intermodal facility--a Class III industrial facility, must be planned and situated in industrial-zoned land space; a location with the plans and infrastructure to support it and be adjacent to a major highway.
Even 19th-century laws and courts rejected railway immunity from local controls protecting the environment; this is no way for Canada to work today and is entirely inconsistent with the Federal Government's commitment to "build back better."
Families and children of today will suffer immediate impacts. Future families and children will suffer the cumulative effects of the intermodal yard activity.
Support of this yard will tell communities they don’t matter, and are worthy of sacrifice to face the severe consequences all for the sake of money.
Hon. Minister Wilkinson's in your own words, please, "Help us build a healthier, fairer, and more resilient future that we can be proud to pass on to our children and grandchildren."
As a community, we have stood up to stop the CN proposal for almost 20 years. If the Federal Cabinet decides to approve this proposed truck-rail hub, residents will forever be exposed to significant adverse effects on human health. That is not the future we want for Halton. The Federal Government must put the health and safety of Halton residents first. Milton and Halton's citizens must not become a tragic health statistic due to the environmental impacts of this industrial development. We ask you to protect our health and protect our future.
The Ministers who genuinely want to leave a better place for our children, grandchildren and future generations must acknowledge the location specified by CN as inappropriate. Proceeding with the project is the wrong thing to do, as future generations will forever suffer immediate and long-term cumulative impacts.
We ask, what future do you picture for your families and that of future families? The fate of residents lies in your hands. When you decide, know we are not a statistic; we are real people looking for your help and protection for our health and future.
For the first time in Canadian history, a Federal Review Panel determined that a project could have significant adverse effects on human health. Now, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and his Cabinet will determine our fate. We will remember, and future generations will remember the decision made for Milton and Halton Region. Your decision will become your legacy. Rejecting approval of the CN Logistic Hub will help create a safe and healthy environment.
We strongly urge you, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and your Cabinet colleagues to reject this proposal, and put the health of Canadians first--make the honourable choice.
Rita Vogel Post
Chair, Milton R.A.I.L. (Residents Affected by Intermodal Lines)