CN Officially Announces Plans for Milton Intermodal Facility

downloadEarlier this morning the  Milton Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast sponsored by CN for the announcement of their plans to construct a 400 acre $250 million intermodal facility in Milton.

The news broke earlier this week and over the last 48 hours, I along with other Milton and Regional Councillors have heard from Milton residents on both sides of the issue.  There is a long history with these lands, CN and previous attempts at locating an intermodal and many respond with “here we go again”

The announcement was brief and all the details of their proposal as well as ways of contacting CN directly are located at a website www.cnmilton.ca  This website is run by CN.

They will also be opening an office in Milton that will be open Saturdays where Milton residents can take their questions and concerns directly to their staff.  The office will be at 61 James Snow Parkway and opening March 28th from 9am to 2pm.

The presentation made by CN mainly focused on the benefits of intermodal transport as opposed to trucks and other forms of goods transit and what they perceive will be the benefits brought to Milton.  There were a few questions afterwards, even one by a CN employee in attendance.

There will be more to come as information becomes available so stay tuned to @Mike_Cluett and as always, please send me your comments, questions and concerns to mike.cluett@milton.ca

CN to Announce 24 / 7 – 400 Acre Intermodal in Milton

12pm Tuesday March 17th – Update

There will be more information coming out regarding the CN proposal in the coming days but I wanted to give people an idea about the possible truck traffic that can be expected at a CN Intermodal.

I grew up in Brampton roughly about 10kms from the Brampton CN Intermodal (Airport Road and 407 area).  Earlier this morning I took a trip by the facility to observe the area, the amount of traffic that is around the area and the types of businesses an intermodal attracts.

At one entrance to the facility – in a 15 minute time period – I observed 14 long bed trucks coming out of the facility and 23 going in.  This was one entrance to the CN Intermodal and there are a few more for trucks to enter to and from.

Doing the math it looked like at least 1 truck going in and out per minute.  Another item to keep in mind is that this will be a 24 hr 7 day a week operation.  Lights and noise will be seen and heard from for km’s around the facility and residential development is now underway just north of the proposed facility.

CN will be making a presentation Thursday morning and I will be in attendance.  I will have more information for you then so please stay tuned.

Feel free to pass along any comments you might have in the comment section as well.

Canadian National Railway Company to Announce Plans for Proposed Intermodal Facility in Milton

Posted on Monday March 16, 2015
News release
The Town of Milton and Halton Region have learned that the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) intends to announce that it will move forward with a proposal to build an intermodal facility in Milton. The company plans to make the announcement at a Milton Chamber of Commerce event on Thursday, March 19. CN will then proceed with a Federal Environmental Assessment for the proposed facility and will file an official project description on Monday, March 23.
The proposed intermodal terminal would be built on a 400-acre plot of CN-owned land, located between Britannia Road and Lower Base Line. It would be designed to transfer cargo containers between rail cars and trucks to move goods eastward cross the Greater Toronto Area and throughout North America. The facility would be approximately 2900 metres in length and have the capacity to handle four trains per day. Once completed, the terminal would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

CN has not provided the Town or Halton Region with a formal site plan for the project or other important details, but both governments have serious concerns that this location is not appropriate.

“As it stands, CN’s proposal is contrary to our vision for the Town of Milton,” said Mayor Gordon Krantz. “Their plan lacks detail and does not recognize the needs of our residents or that the integrity of our community is protected.”

Town and Regional staff noted that the expanded railway operations and services proposed by CN are not consistent with existing zoning or the Official Plans of the Town and the Region, and could have significant environmental, transportation, social and land use planning implications.

The Town and the Region have made CN aware of these issues, but the company still plans to proceed with the project, claiming that neither Milton, the Region, nor the provincial or federal government, has a say in determining whether the project moves forward.

Town and Regional staff will work to ensure that the proposed facility follows a full regulatory approval process.

This proposal marks CN’s second attempt to establish an intermodal facility in Milton. In 2001, CN proposed a similar project. Both the Town and the Region identified several major issues with that plan, including an increase in traffic, noise and air pollution, a loss of agricultural land, and negative impacts on wildlife, habitats and other environmental resources. The proposal also prompted outcry from members of the community and opposition groups before it was withdrawn The present project is also at odds with CN’s commitment to Regional Council that it would not build the intermodal facility, and would pursue a rail-served industrial development on the lands instead.

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For further information, please contact:

Brett Kelly
Communications Specialist
905-878-7252, ext. 2154

Milton Transit to review Saturday Service

Milton Council approved my notice of motion last night to have staff review Saturday transit service.

Milton TransitThe town has been operating this service for 18 months and so far have fallen short of expectations. Ridership on a number of the routes has been decreasing on a quarterly basis since last year.

For example Route #4 Thompson Clark

Saturday Revenue Passenger Trips per Revenue Service Hour – Monthly (unaudited numbers)

Q1 – 10.7

Q2 – 9.0

Q3 – 4.2

Q4 – 4.1

NOW, lets compare this to Weekly numbers for the same route.

Weekly Revenue Passenger Trips per Reveune Service Hour – Monthly (unaudited numbers)

Q1 – 22.6

Q2 – 20.4

Q3 – 14.8

Q4 – 20.9

Saturday Route # 6 Scott

Q1 – 4.9

Q2 – 7.0

Q3 – 5.3

Q4 – 5.2

Weekly Route # 6 Scott

Q1 – 10.8

Q2 – 12.0

Q3 – 12.2

Q4 – 12.1

There have been 3 routes that have slightly increased in numbers but only marginally over the last 12 months. Highest revenue passenger ride for a route in the last 3 quarters has been 9.0 while the lowest is 4.0

What these numbers show me is that this service is far under utilized by Milton residents and one of two actions need to be taken. Either cancel the service for the time being or review the routes, see if we can make them more conducive to what Milton transit riders need and make it more efficient.

Milton Transit regularly polls their customers but to be quite honest the more telling comments come from non users. And not just the ones who will never use Milton Transit, but those who could, but don’t. The ones who have to pick their kids up from child care after work and need their vehicle once they step off the GO train in the evening. The ones who could use it to get to their part-time job but the service isn’t available after a particular hour for them to come home.

This is where we need to build the service around. Do we need routes during the day running at 1/2 hr service times or would 1hr suffice for the time being?

These are the questions we need to have answers to. Last council approved a Transit Master Plan, which in my opinion, and the opinion of others, painted a rather rosy picture of transit growth and set benchmarks that even in ideal circumstances wouldn’t be met. I didn’t approve of the master plan, but it passed regardless.

This review of Saturday transit is what I personally feel is something we should be doing every year, but the results will be telling. In my opinion, if Saturday ridership numbers do not increase, council will once again be forced to look at options. We cannot simply be paying to provide a service that very few use.

Imagine if the Town of Milton provided recreational programs, staffing, time and resources that very few people utilized? It would be looked at and if it couldn’t be improved, more than likely that program would be cancelled.

It’s the same with transit. With roughly $350,000 per year (my approximation) being spent on Saturday transit and participation in that service not increasing or in some cases declining, something has to be done.

Lets look at different routes that get people to where they need to go on Saturday. Downtown Milton, shopping centres, Milton Sports Centre, the hospital, the libraries….feel free to add some more if I’ve missed any.

Will that mean a possible increase in travel time? Maybe an increase in the time between buses in some areas?

Right now our transit system is built around the GO Station. That might make sense for Monday to Friday, but Saturday it doesn’t. So let’s make some Saturday only routes, educate the public on these routes, encourage them to use the service, give it a try…

There were some suggestions made that we look at increasing the time for transfers so that they can be used within a 3 hour period instead of immediately after. Another idea is allowing 12 and under children ride for free.

Will that help a dad or mom make a choice “My kids will ride for free, so let’s try the bus.” ? We don’t know the answer to that question. We need to start asking them in order to get the answers.

Feel free to pass along this information to your friends and neighbours. I want to provide staff with enough information so that we can improve the system, make it more efficient and in turn save some taxpayers dollars.

If we continue on this path of hoping ridership goes up without making an effort, we are effectively tossing money out the window while patting ourselves on the back that we have a transit system. Lets make it the best it can be and as economical as possible. Lets build a system on successes rather than on “we hope it works out”

If you build something on a poor foundation, the whole structure will fall as you continue to build on it. Lets build a solid, efficient and cost-effective transit structure to build on as we continue to grow.

Doing What I Said Id Do

lisa round tableContinuing with my meetings with senior staff at the Region of Halton and other levels of government. Earlier this month I was able to take part in Halton (Milton MP) Lisa Raitt’s pre-budget round table.  In that meeting I brought up a number of concerns for the Town of Milton.  Many of them included infrastructure issues and looking at getting some financial support from all levels of government, including the feds.

As a fast growing municipality, we are faced with many issues and restrictions that other “slower growing” regions do not.  Minister Raitt seemed very enthusiastic about some of the ideas brought forward that will help in the moving of not only regular traffic, but to help reducing gridlock on the highways, where most of our good and services are transported through.  

There were also a number of other Milton area stakeholders in attendance from both the business community and important social services as well.  I look forward to hearing back from Minister Raitt on future proposals from the federal level of government.

Today’s meeting was with Public Works to discuss issues that have been brought up to me over the last 4 plus years on council as well as during the campaign.

The number one issue I brought up was Fairness for Milton and the breakdown of Halton Region and the number of councillors per municipality. All have agreed so far that this is something that needs to be addressed in this term and we’re working on ways to bring this to the forefront.

I also talked about improved synchronization of the traffic lights along regional roads like Derry and Britannia, blue box improvements, waste collection-bag limits, park dumping and of course working on regional road projects to ensure they are on time and limited displacement of Milton residents.

After every meeting I hand them a copy of my platform piece so they know where I and the voters of wards 1,6,7 & 8 are coming from.  So far they have all been in agreement with the priorities you raised during the last election campaign.

I’ll be providing some more updates as these meetings continue and if anyone has feedback or concerns, dont hesitate to email me mike.cluett@milton.ca or call me on my cell 647-888-9032.

This coming Wednesday is the public roundtable for the Halton Region Strategic Plan at Halton Region HQ.  The meeting begins at 630pm so if you haven’t already RSVP’d please do so here.

The strategic plan sets the course for Halton Region council to help build a Complete Community.  As you will remember during the election campaign, a Complete Community is something that we all need to work towards.  We need as much input from the public as possible and its meetings like this that are very important.  If you can’t make it, have a look on the site about the questions that will be asked and send me your input.

mike.cluett@milton.ca

I’ll see you at the doors.