CN Intermodal Hub Proposal

Reference Number
1111
Date Submitted
2020-11-21 10:16:05 AM
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Dear Members of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada regarding CN's Intermodal Hub Proposal for Milton Ontario.

I have been following the CN Intermodal Hub plan with great interest. We have purchased a new condo that is being built in Milton and will move there in late 2021, so we have a strong vested interest in this project. As an aside, ironically, the condo we purchased will a “Net Zero” building and that is precisely why we chose this location to purchase. Next to no other low rise condo builders in Canada are offering such low carbon footprint residences.

Early on, I had assumed it was obvious that CN’s Intermodal Hub plan would be rejected. Who in their right mind would build such a facility right next to a large residential community. Surely the prospect of a 24/7 operation with 800 trucks per day coming and going and the resulting pollutants and noise and negative health impacts to families in this community would never be approved.

The objective of removing large numbers of long haul trucks from Canada’s highways is of course a terrific objective for the health of our country and our planet. It helps Canada move forward towards its climate change goals of reducing our GHG emissions. But how do we deal with a proposal that is great for Canada but very harmful to residents of a community like Milton?

I have no idea what other competing sites CN considered for this Intermodal Hub. If there are truly no other preferred sites that would limit the impact on a residential community, then the discussion should turn towards the challenge of dramatically reducing the negative impacts on the community in Milton. If the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada feels it has no choice but to approve this project, I recommend the approval have the following conditions attached to it:

  • All trucks coming and going from the facility be EV’s. By the time this facility opens there will be plenty of EV options available from tractor trailers to smaller deliver trucks. I am assuming a large percentage of the trucks will be short hauls from southern Ontario which are perfect for EV’s. However, if there are long haul trucks also coming and going from the Intermodal Hub, then CN can set up a separate truck yard right off Highway 401 (well away from residential housing), where trailers could then be taken to the Intermodal Yard by an EV and visa versa.
  • Presumably there will be some companies bringing cargo to and from the Intermodal Hub who won’t be ready to buy EV’s. CN could purchase sufficient EV trucks to provide this service from the truck yard to the Intermodal Hub at an appropriate cost to their customers.
  • As for the increased train traffic to and from CN’s Intermodal Hub, an approval could also insist that all trains in and out of the hub be run by electric freight train engines. Once clear of Milton, the engines could then be swapped out for the standard diesel electric engines for their long haul.

The above approach would required an investment by CN in electrifying the train service for the hub and a limited distance beyond Milton, as well as the purchase of electric train engines to operate the hub. The elimination of the pollution (from trucks & train engines) and the harmful health impact to the community of Milton would be a huge gain for Milton.

The above approach would in effect make the Intermodal Hub a zero pollution site, which CN and Milton could be justifiable proud of.

Today, every infrastructure project needs to take full advantage of the opportunity to reduce GHG emissions. If we don’t start being smart about new projects, we are simply adding to the burden we leave our children and grandchildren to deal with in the future. The burden needs to be handled by decision makers today. We need to be able to look our children in the eye and be able to tell them we make the best decision possible for the future generations of Canadians.

Thank you for listing. I will watch your decision with great interest.

Sincerely

 

Stephen Hill

3432 Liptay Ave

Oakville, Ontario

L6M 0M8

Submitted by
Stephen Hill
Phase
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Public Notice
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