Oshawa calls for 407 extension Print

Oshawa was the scene of a meeting of several area politicians calling for the 407 to be extended all the way to Clarington as quickly as possible.

Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer Roger Anderson and the Mayors-elect from Clarington, Oshawa, Peterborough and Scugog met with Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne at Oshawa City Hall yesterday afternoon regarding the future of the Highway 407 East Extension.

At the meeting, Mayor-elect John Henry (Oshawa) presented the briefing of behalf of Mayor's elect Adrian Foster (Clarington), Chuck Mercier (Scugog) and Daryl Bennett (Peterborough), along with Chair Anderson, which asked Minister Wynne to honour the province’s commitment to build the Highway 407 extension in one phase to Highway 35/115.

They each emphatically stated that building the extension in phases is not viable and simply not fair to the Region, Oshawa, the Hamlet of Columbus, Clarington, Scugog, Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough for the following reasons:

• an unfair and misleading Environmental Assessment (EA) process
• significant, unnecessary and unbudgeted road infrastructure expenditures
• imbalanced economic growth
• negative safety, environmental and cultural impacts

“Phasing the construction of Highway 407 will have crippling impacts on Durham Region and Durham’s eastern municipalities,” says Chair Anderson. “It will create imbalanced growth and negatively impact the Region’s ability to compete with other areas in the GTA.”

He then added that the process associated with the recently approved EA did not adequately deal with phasing nor allow public, municipality or Regional comment on phasing.

Mayor-elect Henry questioned Minister Wynne on the rationale for stopping the easterly construction of Highway 407 at Simcoe Street in Oshawa.

“The historical Hamlet of Columbus does not have the infrastructure or ability to accommodate the associated traffic and impacts of having a major provincial highway ending in its small rural community,” says Oshawa Mayor-elect Henry. “It will cause major traffic congestion in north Oshawa, increase heavy truck traffic and safety concerns on Simcoe Street, and continue
congestion on Highway 401.”

He also cited significant and unbudgeted road infrastructure expenditures at an estimated $320 million for the Region and City of Oshawa just to accommodate a temporary 407 ending at Simcoe Street. In addition, there will be tremendous associated lifecycle costs to maintain the road projects.

Significant delays, increased accident frequency, costs associated with just-in-time delivery protocols and increased commuter travel time will also contribute to additional business impacts across the GTA and the Province.

A common concern was that once the extension is finally complete to Highway 35/115, Oshawa and the Region will be left with overbuilt infrastructure and damaged rural communities. The Mayors-elect and Regional Chair stressed that the provincial and federal governments must live up to their commitments solidified by the FLOW agreement and build the Highway 407 East.