It sounds like a “very” good news story, but CN and the town of Milton are on opposite sides of the track when it comes to a new, multi-million dollar cargo facility announced today. The railroad is preparing to build a state-of-the art, inter-modal shipping terminal to handle truck and rail traffic for the GTA. It’s a business that’s doubled in size in the last ten years, but the town of Milton says it has a different vision of what’s good for its municipal development.
As any real estate agent will tell you, it’s all about location. And according to CN, Milton must be the place.
“We came back with having done a detailed study that this is where we should be. We have a thousand acres, and we’re going to build on 400” says Sean Finn from CN Rail.
And while the promise of a thousand jobs, and 250-million dollars in investment may sound like winning the lottery in this economy – the town of Milton, isn’t celebrating. “OK, what are they going to do with the other 600 acres?” says Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz. The CN land runs hard up against rapidly expanding residential developments in the fastest growing city in Canada. It’s just a stone’s throw from the new cycling velodrome, in an area heavily travelled, by an active cycling community. And, it lies in the shadow of protected natural greenspace. Milton believes it will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in development fees and taxes on the one hand, while having to pay for expensive new infrastructure. “We talk about multi-millions of dollars…so…are they prepared to give that due consideration?”. Not to mention, the truck traffic “we’re talking about, from what I’m lead to believe, 15 hundred…maybe up to 2 thousand…daily…we’re talking about it 24/7”
CN knows, there will be barriers to their plans, and they say they will be sensitive, to local concerns. “We understand that these are our neighbours” says Mr. Finn
But the crux of the matter is that the currently quiet corner of Milton, is just three minutes away from the busiest consumer corridor, in Canada. One that’s getting busier all the time. So much so, that CN says it’s current facility in Brampton, just can’t handle it anymore. The rail giant has agreed to submit to a full federal environmental assessment. And Mayor Gord Krantz says, he will push for a full provincial assessment as well.