As many regular readers of my blog and Twitter account will know, I have been doing a lot of talking about The Big Move and its plans, or lack thereof, for Halton. Plans are currently underway for the province of Ontario to receive Metrolinx’s report in June that will recommend many different “revenue generating tools”, most commonly referred to as taxes, to pay for the over $50 Billion in transit growth in the GTHA.
I’ve clearly stated during this conversation that I feel the province needs to come to the table with some of its own funding ideas that don’t include tax increases, levies, or massive user fees. They’ve ignored those suggestions continually which has forced Halton Region and other levels of government to make their own decisions regarding the Big Move.
This past Wednesday, Halton Regional council unanimously endorsed a recommendation to the province of Ontario that if Halton’s needs for transit expansion (all day GO train service for Milton and Halton Hills) are not addressed in the current 15 year plan for the Big Move that council will consider putting the brakes on growth in the region.
Bold statement for sure. It’s a demand from the region that if the province won’t look after our needs and concerns for growth, and considering we are in the Places To Grow area that will see Milton end up with a population of over 300,000 or more in future years, then we have to make changes to OUR growth plan.
Is this a bit of posturing? Yes. Is it possible? Not really. Will it end up costing lots of money? You bet it will.
That’s a story for another day. The reason I bring all of this up is that during this meeting some comments were made by current Regional Councillor Tony Lambert that I found to be confusing to say the least.
If you’ve been following along with this debate on the Hawthorne Villager forum, you will know that Tony has been stating for a long time that he is opposing growth in Milton until the province meets “his” demands and those include the all-day GO train service for Milton and a new GO Station at Trafalgar and the 401.
He’s made statements that he when first elected to Milton council, was to “try to shut development down!” He was a bit confused as he did vote against 2 reports at our first meeting which was to receive information reports on Derry Green business park and the Boyne Survey and no decisions or plans were included.
And other comments like this:
“Like me or not, I am whom I am. I will take your money, but if you come against the people my face will be against you (no apologies). I will STILL win, on $0 of donations. Just watch.
If I cared less, I would be asleep. Brian, corporations do not determine who represents the voters of wards 1 6 7 and 8 in Milton, the PEOPLE do!”
He then made other comments about Derry Green Business park, which when completed with bring hundreds of jobs and businesses to Milton so that as a community, we wouldn’t have to rely on 401 and other major roads to get to work. In fact it might help increase transit ridership locally if we do. But he said he would try to stop it.
“Yes, Derry Green means local jobs but also more motorists and trucks. I will see if we look at shutting that down also.”
“So the delay I will be fighting for on future development unless the province changes their stance on Milton (and I hope their reading this), kicks in. Less new people/development = less local transit expansion/costs. So therefore, Mr./Mrs. Taxpayer is protected if I win and show the Government of Ontario to think twice. To not try to force 150,000 people in my 4 wards on top of the 100,000 people here, and not keep up transportation infrastructure (trains as an option). NO – NOT HAPPENING! “
So by these comments you can ascertain that Tony is against business growth in Milton that will mean jobs and more importantly revenue for the Town of Milton and the Region of Halton in the form of development charges and property taxes. He also supported the Milton transit expansion at the 2013 budget discussions and recently at Milton council meetings, but says he’s “protecting” tax payers.
All of this brings me to his comments at the Halton regional council meeting yesterday.
Here’s the partial transcript of his statement before the vote.
…if we don’t, perhaps build up our local areas more such as Milton Burlington and Halton and Georgetown and Oakville, we may have to look at more investments in improving infrastructure 20 years from now but we will be looking at future dollars and future billions of dollars so perhaps the province as they see the message we are giving them this morning, can perhaps look at instead of spending 10s of billions of dollars in widening the 401 which they probably will have to do but also look at building up businesses in local communities.”
So now he’s made mention of building up local areas for business in order to help alleviate the congestion on our roads and highways. More local jobs can lead to less cars on the road, more usage of transit and overall a better quality of life in Milton. And he is apparently against that. Or is he?
My question is this? Where does he stand on this? One day he mentions doing everything possible to stop all business growth in Milton and then another day states that growth of businesses locally is a good idea.
Confused? You’re not alone.