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“Hurontario-Main LRT Proposed Surface Alignment – Too Many Details Missing” – By: Councillors Elaine Moore, Grant Gibson, Jeff Bowman, John Sprovieri and Doug Whillans

Posted in Canada, Community

Published on July 07, 2015 with No Comments

There is a familiar quote that states “the devil is in the details”, but in the case of the proposed Hurontario-Main LRT route, there is a serious lack of details available from the province to show
that this is a win-win solution for Brampton and not just for Mississauga.

Regardless of last term’s turbulent issues, Brampton council, including some current sitting
Councillors and those of us new to this term were united at least on one front – that the H-M
LRT that included a surface alignment into the downtown was not in the best interests for
Brampton.  In 2011 when Brampton was first approached to evaluate the feasibility of having
an LRT service including the alignment north of Steeles Avenue, there was cause for concern.
Again in 2013, Council remained concerned and directed staff to explore alternative routes
north of Steeles for an LRT service. More recently in 2014, council passed the motion in a 10-1
vote to protect Brampton by taking the H-M LRT surface alignment north of Nanwood Drive off
the table.  Brampton had done its homework and it was felt that council could not support a
project that put at risk the revitalization of our historic downtown along Main Street with no
direct economic benefit.
Instead we believe that the LRT surface alignment would better serve Brampton by traveling to
Brampton’s single largest investment – the Peel Memorial Health Campus, where it will provide
a focus for economic growth, investment and jobs. We have since had many conversations with
concerned residents about taking the LRT service to the Peel Memorial development area
which is only a five to ten minute walk to the four corners of the downtown (yes, Peel Memorial
is still part of Brampton’s downtown). This will provide a supportable solution of how to keep
the LRT service alignment within the downtown without sacrificing Main Street’s historic
characteristics.

This begs the question of why exactly should Brampton support the proposed Hurontario-Main
LRT alignment project?  Especially as it appears that Mississauga would stand to benefit much
more than Brampton.  The current LRT alignment proposal puts four times the route within
Mississauga’s borders, with four times the funding from the Province, and yet Mississauga does
not have four times the population or traffic compared to Brampton.  Brampton is entitled to
an equal investment in this project, and as elected officials, we are questioning why the
Province is not looking at Brampton’s needs through the same eyes as Mississauga’s.
Unfortunately, it is clear that Brampton’s needs were not served by the former Mayor who was
not at the discussion table advocating for Brampton’s best interests and Council’s wishes. The announcement from Metrolinx that disregards Council’s position on the surface alignment is
testament to this.  But while Brampton was not at the table when they could have had the most
influence and impact on the final outcome, Brampton cannot give in to fear tactics where some
advocate that if we don’t accept what’s forced on us, Brampton will lose out on the LRT money
altogether.  Brampton simply deserves better.

There are still too many questions – too many details- hanging in the air that should be raising
red flags for the residents of Brampton and for their elected representatives and Mayor. This
current term of council heard the need expressed by our residents for a new mandate that
focused on accountability and transparency, something that is simply not being done with the
current approach to the LRT service, which is more focused on lobbying support through
threats and fear tactics than through an open dialogue exploring all costs, risks and benefits for
Brampton.  In contrast, those of us that are opposing the surface alignment north of Nanwood
Drive are not resorting to scare tactics.  We are instead giving voice to the uproar of a
community made up not of special interests groups but instead that of grassroots supporters.
Businesses that rush into financial decisions based on a “use it or lose it” mentality often end up
paying more for something that they don’t need.  Do not let this happen to Brampton.

A vote to defeat the surface alignment into our downtown through Hurontario-Main Street
once and for all will force our Mayor, Metrolinx and the Province back to the table to find an
alignment we can all agree on.  With this project starting in south Mississauga, it will not work
its way north into Brampton for two more years.  This will buy Brampton the time to undertake
the necessary studies and assessments so that when construction reaches our border, we can
all celebrate its arrival.

 

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