Lots of questions surround CN’s plan to build an Intermodal Yard. Here’s my attempt at answering some.
1) What is Intermodal? It’s a method of shipping of combining two or more modes of transportation. In this case rail, and trucks.
2) Where is the area? It’s a stretch of 1000 acres beginning in the Britannia & Tremaine area, stretching as far south as Lower Base Line. It’s mostly agricultural, bought up by the company allegedly using a series of numbered companies.
3) If it’s agricultural, and CN owns it then what’s the problem? The problem is zoning, and growth. CN walked away from a similar project in 2008, and in response planners with the Region of Halton, and Town of Milton designated the area for strategic employment. On the north side of Britannia Rd is Boyne Survey, which has recently been approved. The facility’s entrance will be directly opposite the homes along Britannia.
4) How are CN allowed to build without Town, and Regional Permission? The Railway Act of 1887 gives them the right to build whatever they want on 100 yards to either side of the rails. They take the view that because they’re in a federally regulated industry they only have to abide by federal rules. So they’ve chosen to submit to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) who has the final decision on if they have to get an Environmental Assessment done.
5) Why is Lisa Raitt so quiet? Because at this point she doesn’t have a say on it. The CEAA comes under the Ministry of the Environment. She’s a known critic of rail safety and has even put forward a bill before the House: Safe & Accountable Rail Act.
6) What can I do about this? Speak up whether you favour it or not. There are two main groups on the No Side: “Milton Says No to CN” And RAIL (Residents Affected by Intermodal Lines). Both groups recognize inevitability of an intermodal facility in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) area, but oppose the current location. You can talk to/ email your local councillor. Click here for a list.
7) Where would be a better location? It’s been suggested a better location would be somewhere north of highway 401 in the industrial area.