Controversial CN intermodal hub in Milton gets green light from federal government*

Controversial CN intermodal hub in Milton gets green light from federal government

Bambang Sadewo | Milton Canadian Champion | Thursday, January 21, 2021


The federal government has approved the proposed CN intermodal hub in Milton.


The decision statement by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson was posted on the website of Impact Assessment Agency of Canada on Jan. 21.


Wilkinson stated that while the logistics hub project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, the government determined that the significant adverse environmental effects of the project are justified.


In a news release, Wilkinson said that the ministry has established 325 legally-binding conditions that CN Railway must comply with.


“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,” he said in the release.


The conditions imposed, which according to the release would make it the most stringently regulated intermodal logistics hub in Canada, include measures to address effects on air quality, human health, groundwater and surface water, migratory birds, species at risk, and more.


The conditions also include limiting the truck traffic to 800 vehicles entering the site per day, establishing a community liaison and communication process, documenting and responding to feedback from the community, as well as demonstrating how the feedback is addressed.


The release states that the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will enforce the conditions before and during construction, as well as over the course of the project operations.


The approval came despite vehement objections by politicians and community groups across the region.


In a Jan. 13 letter sent to the minister, regional chair Gary Carr and Halton’s four mayors point to a recent U.K. coroner’s ruling that air pollution caused a 9-year-old girl’s death. They assert this provides tangible evidence of the dangers of air pollution and underscores the government’s “unconditional, statutory mandate to protect human health.”


“It is imperative that the federal government consider this ruling in their assessment,” said Carr. “The federal review panel has already determined that this project is likely to have significant adverse effects on human health because of the pollutants involved. There is no justification for failing to protect the health of tens of thousands of residents – the answer is clear that CN’s proposal for this location must not be approved.”


The intermodal facility -- which is proposed for CN-owned lands located east of Tremaine Road and south of Britannia Road -- is designed to transfer containers between trucks and railcars and would operate around the clock with an estimated 1,600 daily truck trips and four intermodal trains.


The release says that the project is expected to reduce regional emissions for certain pollutants by transitioning from trucks to train shipment.


On its website, CN says the project is a critical investment into the supply chain network to help meet the growing demand for household goods across the GTHA. -


With files from Melanie Hennessey



Bambang Sadewo is a general assignment reporter for InsideHalton.com and its sister papers. He is also the municipal affairs reporter for Milton. He speaks English and Indonesian.


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