Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION: Ever-changing Corridor
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 24 Nov 2006, p. 6

Full Text

"One of the things that we very, very, very much need is to make sure the 401 Corridor goes ahead. It will be successful. I can almost guarantee that." --Former Town of Halton Hills Economic Development Officer Al O'Neill, Jan. 18, 2002 Nearly four years after O'Neill uttered those words, the 401 Corridor (officially called the 401-407 Gateway Business Park) remains as crucial to the future of Halton Hills as it did when the idea was first hatched in the early '80s. To be sure, the Corridor project has seen as many twists and dips as a roller coaster at Disneyworld. The latest announcement to affect the Corridor came from the Ontario Power Authority last week in which it was revealed TransCanada Energy will build a 683megawatt gas-fired power plant on an 80-acre parcel of land at Sixth Line S. and Steeles Ave. to provide muchneeded power generation in the Greater Toronto Area. It could be argued-- as Ward 2 Councillor Bryan Lewis has-- that this plant hardly qualifies as "prestige development", which is what taxpayers of Halton Hills were told the Corridor would accommodate. Images of tidy head office buildings with landscaped grounds is what many expected to see dominate the Corridor. That said, there is little opposition to the plant from either nearby residents or environmentalists as the plant is looked on as being the "lesser of two evils." At one time a truck distribution centre was considered. On the plus side, when in operation in 2010, annual assessment from the power plant for the Town of Halton Hills will be between $1-1.3 million, TransCanada has assumed the Town's $1.5 million loan to Halton Region and the company will provide a $250,000 investment in future community projects. By all appearances TransCanada intends on being a "good corporate citizen". However, with Mold-Masters putting off its decision to relocate to the Corridor earlier this year, plans for a "boutique college" in limbo, land prices in the area skyrocketing from $150,000 an acre three years ago to $350,000 an acre today and now the introduction of a power plant, residents are right to wonder if the Corridor will ever be what it was intended to be. O'Neill's "guarantee" of success, which may yet come to fruition, is certainly less of a sure thing four years hence.

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24 Nov 2006
Personal Name(s):
O'Neill, Al ; Lewis, Bryan
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Halton Hills ; 401-407 Gateway Business Park ; Disneyworld ; Ontario Power Authority ; TransCanada Energy ; Mold-Masters
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OPINION: Ever-changing Corridor