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Hwy. 407 — A Promise Made Should Be Kept

The June 2nd announcement of the phasing of Highway 407 through Durham, with the first end of link terminating at Simcoe Street in Oshawa, came as a surprise to the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce.

In a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty on June 25, 2010 the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce thanked the Premier and the Ministry for announcing the extension of Highway 407, as a good start and noted its extreme disappointment that the parameters for completion of the highway had changed without any dialogue or input from the Durham community which has worked so diligently and in good faith over the past ten years on the completion of the Highway 407 extension to 35/115.

The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce feels the public and business community have been mislead by the Ontario Government, adding to hear the announcement through the media was not right.

Click here for the complete letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty [PDF]

Click here for a copy of the response from Premier Dalton McGuinty [PDF]

Since the fall of 2002 the Chamber has been an active member of the Highway 407 Community Advisory Committee. At no time during that period was phasing the Durham section of Highway 407 to 35/115 discussed.

The Chamber was also in attendance at Downsview in March 2007 when the Federal initiative FLOW, the Government of Canada’s transportation action plan for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was announced. It is our understanding this was an agreement that was signed by both the Government of Canada and Ontario. The FLOW agreement had key transportation infrastructure funding projects for the GTA including a firm commitment to complete the extension of Hwy. 407 east to Hwy. 35/115 by 2013.

In response to our letter to the Premier, MPP Jerry Ouellette confirmed that during Question Period on December 6, 2007 he queried Minister David Caplan, the Minister responsible in the Ontario Legislature at the time, regarding the Highway 407 completion date. Minister Caplan confirmed the completion date of 2013

Since 2004, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce’s call for completion of the 407 to Highway 35/115, stressing that the negative economic, safety and capital investment impact to Ontario of not proceeding to complete the Eastward Extension—Highway 407 eastward from Brock Rd. in Pickering to Hwy 35/115 is real.

In May of this year, delegates at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce AGM in Windsor re-affirmed our Chamber’s call for the Government of Ontario to adhere to its deadline of May 2010 for the approval of the environmental assessment on the eastward extension to Highway 407, which has happened. The recommendation also stated that immediately upon approval of the environmental assessment, commence construction for the extension of Highway 407 beyond Brock Road in Pickering through Clarington/Highway 401 link to Hwy 35/115 and where any north south linkages could cause delays they be built at a later date.

The Greater Oshawa Chamber’s concern is the lack of an alternative freeway through the eastern side of the GTA is a safety issue and results in delays to auto and commercial traffic when Highway 401 is close or capacity is limited as a result of an accident or construction/rehabilitation.

In the letter to the Premier the Chamber stated it had a major safety and economic concern with the proposed end of link at Simcoe Street in Oshawa that deserves the Governments attention. It will stop at the north end of Oshawa virtually on a rural road with no linkage to Highway 401. The Chamber questioned if it was the intention of the Government of Ontario to pay for the major infrastructure upgrades needed to be completed on the regional and municipal roads to accommodate this change or was it to be downloaded to the Durham Region and Oshawa taxpayers? The Chamber also asked what the costs were for the upgrades by ending the link at the proposed congested point at Simcoe Street, with no link to Highway 401, versus extending the end of link into Clarington at the Courtice/Clarington proposed north south link that has a highway by-pass opportunity so critical for safety and economic reasons to the GTA .

In a response to the Chamber’s recommendation that the government re-consider and complete the entire route to 35/115 as expeditiously as possible, the Premier wrote on July 5th thanking the Chamber for its feedback and noted that as the Chamber had also written the Minister of Transport he has asked that she or a member of her staff respond directly. The Chamber at press time was waiting the Ministers reply.

To read a copy of the letter to the Premier and his reply visit www.oshawachamber.com. If you would like to voice your concern please email the following: