Brampton Council rejects motion to reconsider highway 413 position

Heritage Heights Boulevard (artist interpretation)

During today’s meeting the motion to reconsider the City’s support for Highway 413 was defeated. A two-thirds majority vote was required to reopen the topic but the request put forward by Councillor Whillans and seconded by Councillor Santos was rejected in a 6-5 vote. Here’s how the vote went.

For
Councillor Bowman
Councillor Palleschi
Councillor Santos
Councillor Vicente
Councillor Whillans

Against
Mayor Brown
Councillor Dhillon
Councillor Fortini
Councillor Medeiros
Councillor Williams
Councillor Singh

Check out last week’s post, Brampton Council to revisit support for the 413, for more background information. Council’s previous support for this highway was predicated on the boulevard option for Heritage Heights. The Province recently firmly rejected this option when the highway is built.

Why does this vote mean so much? It’s important for many reasons but here are the two key takeaways. First it gives the Conservative Provincial Government’s position to fast-track this highway a boost just as momentum and public opinion was shifting towards scrapping the project. Recent public opinion polls suggested more than 80% of people living in the 905 region did not want the Province to build highways that would negatively affect the Greenbelt. Municipalities from Markham to Mississauga have been passing motions stating their opposition. Brampton’s move, however, helps reinforce the Provincial Government’s position that this is a much needed highway that trumps environmental and other concerns.

Second, this vote indicates that Council is willing to compromise its principles of good city planning in order to placate its Provincial masters. This is worrisome because it means all of the statements and commitments made by this Council to date are nothing more than empty promises that the residents of this City can no longer count on. It’s the same old story all over again. Visions, plans and promises are mere candles in the wind, extinguished by a “puff” from a developer here and a “sigh” from our Premier there.

Those of us who hold dear Brampton’s 2040 Vision and who want desperately for this City to grow in prosperity yet grow green and sustainably, have reason to despair today’s decision. Remember this at election time, when the candidates come knocking.

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