The Canadian National Railway Company (CN) is proposing to create a $250-million logistics hub next to its main line in Milton. Since the start of the proposal in 2015, our goal has been to make certain community interests and plans for the community are heard. Milton is working with Halton Region and the Halton municipalities to make a planning and regulatory response to the proposal.

Project status

The project is being assessed by a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Joint Review Panel.

Facility

The logistics hub, which would be around 2900 m in length, would transfer cargo containers and move goods east towards the Greater Toronto Area and throughout North America. Once completed, it would be able to handle four trains per day and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Location

The hub would be built on CN-owned land (400 acres) in the southwest urban area of Milton.

It would border:

  • Tremaine Road to the west
  • Britannia Road to the north
  • Lower Base Line to the south
  • Highway 25 to the east

Milton and Halton Region have concerns that the use of the land is not suitable; it does not align with Milton’s or Halton’s Official Plan or existing zoning.

Public hearings

The Review Panel held public hearings between June 19 and July 17 to listen to all views on the project at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 2750 High Point Dr. in Milton.

General Sessions

General Sessions were held on:

  • Thursday, June 20 at 1 p.m. - Halton Municipalities
  • Thursday, June 20 at 7 p.m. - Milton Says No

Technical Sessions

There has been five Technical Sessions for the project:

Tuesday, June 25 at 9:30 a.m. - Halton Municipalities

The Project Description, Alternative Means, and Railway Operations and Services (Project, Design, Capacity, Operations and Alternative Means of Undertaking the Project) were discussed.

Wednesday, June 26 at 1 p.m. - Halton Municipalities

The Socio-Economic Conditions (Land Use, Planning and Economic Issues); Halton Municipalities – Socio-Economic Conditions (Traffic & Road Safety) were discussed.

Monday, July 8 at 9:30 a.m.

CN, Milton Says No, ECCC, Health Canada and Halton Municipalities Air Quality, Noise, Vibration, Light and Human Health (Air Quality, including Greenhouse Gases, and Human Health) were discussed.

Tuesday, July 9th at 9:30 a.m. - Halton Municipalities

Air Quality, Noise, Vibration, Light and Human Health (Light) was discussed.

Wednesday, July 10th at 1 p.m. - Halton Municipalities

Socio-Economic Conditions (Community Services & Infrastructure including Financing) was discussed.

Project concerns

Learn more about the project, our community’s concerns and how you can get involved.

There are impacts to all Halton Municipalities, which include:

  • City of Burlington
  • Town of Halton Hills
  • Town of Oakville
  • Town of Milton

The Halton Municipalities identified non-rail aspects of the project that have raised concerns in the community and brought these concerns to the Panel between June 20 and July 10.

Traffic congestion

As the hub will run 24 hours a day and seven days a week, there would be 1,600 truck trips to and from the site each day. This would lead to more traffic on roads, which would increase as the site’s capacity grows. This traffic congestion poses a risk to motorist, cyclist and pedestrian safety.

Health and safety

The site is next to existing and planned residential areas. The site would generate noise, air and light pollution. This would impact the health and safety of around 34,000 residents, 12 schools, two long-term care homes and a hospital, which are within a kilometre of the site.

Environment

The site’s emissions, discharge of storm water, use of water and changes to the watercourse would impact our environment.

CEAA Review Panel

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Dr. Scott Streiner, Chair of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), created a panel to review CN’s proposal on December 6, 2016.

 The Minister has appointed:

  • Ms. Lesley Griffiths as panel Chair
  • Dr. Isobel Heathcote as a panel member
  • Mr. William McMurray as a panel member
Mr. McMurray is a member of the CTA and was assigned by the Chair to determine if the proposed rail construction should be approved under section 98 of the Canada Transportation Act.

Employment

The hub would result in less employment lands and fewer jobs in the community. There are 1,500 planned jobs for the area and the project would only provide 130 jobs.

Only the plans for the 400 acres are included in CN’s proposal. Depending on their planned use of the remaining 800 acres, the impact to the community could greatly increase.

Regulations and requirements

The Federal Government, the Canada Transportation Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act regulates and identifies requirements for the type and construction of railways.

Milton and Halton Region are ensuring that the proposed development is subject to a full regulatory review under the Planning Act and Provincial laws and regulations.

Environmental assessment

CN sent a description of the project on April 8, 2015, to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). After receiving public comments, the CEAA issued a notice of decision that required the proposal to have an environmental assessment.

Formal responses and follow-up letter

The Municipalities issued formal responses to CN’s submission to the CEAA:

  • 1st Response (April 17, 2015)
  • 2nd Response (April 27, 2015)
  • 3rd Response (June 4, 2015)
  • 4th Response (June 19, 2015)
  • 5th Response (June 19, 2015)
  • 6th Response (June 30, 2015)

On July 3, 2015, Halton Region and the Town of Milton sent a follow-up letter to the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment.

Contact us if you’d like to request a copy of the responses or the follow-up letter.

Environmental Impact Statement

CN filed its Environmental Impact Statement on January 7, 2016.

Contact us if you’d like to view:

  • Public Comment Invited on Draft Review Panel Agreement (June 8, 2016)
  • CN: News release on Environmental Impact Statement (January 7, 2016)
  • CN: Environmental Impact Statement Executive Summary
  • Letter from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to CN (March 15, 2016)
  • CN: News release on the application to Canadian Transportation Agency for the Milton Logistics Hub (January 22, 2016)