Protect the Corridor: request on GTA West

On 2/22 Council agenda there is a Staff report recommending that we request the Province to resume and complete the environmental assessment on the GTA West Corridor.   (Recall that it was suspended in mid December by Minister Del Duca.) This is  consistent with the Council decision 8/24/15 to support the Corridor with some caveats.   I do not support building this new highway as I am skeptical of it being a solution to the stated problem (congestion) and I believe there are better alternatives which will have less impact on critical natural heritage features.  But, even so,  I am supportive of asking the Province to complete the EA so that there is definition of the corridor and that the latter be protected.

It is important to think long term, very long term, when talking about highways.  As no one’s forecasts about traffic volume and technology is very accurate, and government policies change, it is a good strategy to create options to respond to possible outcomes.  In the future, a new east/west corridor may be required.  As it is a pretty safe bet that the Oak Ridges Moraine will continue to be relatively open with no subdivisions outside the settlement areas  there is a risk that the powers of the day will deem it  necessary to create that corridor  further north than the GTA West is talked about today i.e. the new corridor will be put into the ORM and right through King.

In the Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe 2015-2041 report (This is report that Mr. Crombie and fellow panel members presented as their review of the 4 Plans) the value of identifying and protecting infrastructure corridors was reviewed in section 7.3 (page 123).

East/west traffic is truly a challenging issue for King.   There are serious environmental issues with the GTA West corridor and a new regional corridor being discussed. (See below for more about latter).  At same time there is unacceptable traffic (volume and type) on King Road in King City; its not designed as a corridor but clearly many drivers see it as that.

As identified in the 8/24/15 report and again in the report at Council 2/22/16, the point is made that the proposed GTA West Corridor would serve as a by-pass for King City and Nobleton traffic heading east/west.

And York Region (YR) is continuing to look for a new east/west corridor in mid York Region; as reviewed in a December meeting in YR there is a new proposal that the solution is to make changes to enable Bloomington Road to be that corridor.  (To do so would require extending 15th Sideroad to the 400; with that there would be a straight route from 400 to 404.) I am expecting that Council will get more information on this in the near future.  Once date confirmed I will be posting so that interested persons can attend. This idea is very problematic as it has significant environmental issues.  To clarify/confirm:  this proposal has not been reviewed at YR Council, nor at King Township; and accordingly it is neither approved nor funded.

I will be asking Council to direct Staff to make some amendments in their request to the Province about finishing the EA to ensure that the caveats in the motion of support made in August 24 are not lost.  The latter included support for routes D and E over F, that King has no intention of extending 7th concession to link with Pine Valley Drive.  Also our request needs to indicate that protecting the corridor for the future means that land be protected also for interchange connectivity for both King-Vaughan Road and Kirby Road.  At the 8/24 Council meeting amendments were made to the Staff report; here is link to the minutes so that you read the final approved set of recommendations–see staff report #4.



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