Council Delegation on High Speed Rail/Advocating for Brampton – June 7, 2017

Good morning Madam Mayor , Councillors and staff, 

I am here today to add my voice to the growing  frustration and anger on the Provincial government’s snub of Brampton for the proposed High Speed Rail project , a crucial transit infrastructure investment and perhaps the largest in Ontario’s history!

I’m also frustrated with our Brampton  MPP’s and Mayor who all too often just accept what is offered by this government, never challenging publically , while watching billions of funding pour into adjacent municipalities  like Mississauga, Vaughan and Toronto for Healthcare, Transit and Infrastructure.

The recent by-pass of Brampton to be part of the High Speed Rail project connecting Windsor to Toronto demonstrates once again the disrespect  that Queen’s Park has towards Canadas ninth largest and third  largest GTA municipality. This is not the only time, as we have seen  the same pattern repeat itself over the past decade.  Let’s look at a few recent examples.  

Instead of a second full service hospital, we get an experiment, not since duplicated  elsewhere in the country. A healthcare facility that’s not addressing the critical overcrowding that has become the norm at Brampton Civic.  Overcrowding that is putting lives at risk at what is now Canada’s busiest ER.  Why hasn’t the Premier on her many recent visits to Brampton taken even 15 minutes to stop by Brampton Civic’s ER department to meet with the front line staff that are frustrated and overwhelmed by the overcrowded conditions and lack of beds?    

Instead of following through on what was to be one new western GTA university campus, we will now have two, with scarcely enough funds pledged for developing one.  In our opinion, The Town of Milton should not receive funding for a University campus at the expense of the City of Brampton’s long term university ambitions!  A city with six times the population, growing exponentially and Canada’s ONLY Top 10 city without one. 

Instead of negotiating and offering Brampton more funding to properly build a LRT that would actually have a chance to meet ridership,revenue, operational cost expectations and assessment intensification potential, we have been the only  municipality to get a threatening “take it or leave it” option that would see our Downtown forever altered and traffic gridlock created through our core with 5 signalized intersections from Wellington to Church, elimination of all street parking, elimination of 2 car lanes and even narrower sidewalks.

Instead of helping resolve our Downtown floodplain issues and the creation of a Riverwalk,  we have discussions and  studies that simply collect dust on the shelf.  Everyone  knows what needs to be done. Everyone knows that this project has the potential to  revitalize  our  Downtown , a designated Urban Growth Centre under the Provinces own Places to Grow Act. 

And once again with the recent announcement to bypass Brampton in favour of other municipalities  for the planned  HSR, our Mayor has stated that Brampton will benefit due to its “close proximity” to the Malton GO station to access the Innovation corridor. 

 Madam Mayor, for two years now we have been hearing that Brampton is to be “PART” of the Innovation Technology Corridor, not just in “CLOSE PROXIMITY” to it.  Will you be satisfied for Brampton residents to board GO stations in our city, head east to Malton or Pearson, (both within Mississauga’s border), transfer and then backtrack west again? Will this close proximity to the HSR be able to attract investment and jobs way from those cities that actually have a HSR station stop?  

When will our  Brampton  MPP’s and Mayor begin calling out this provincial government for not providing the required funding that our city so desperately deserves on major investments that can truly transform our city?   Other municipalities like Mississauga, Vaughan, Toronto, and Hamilton continue to receive a disproportionate amount of funding for their major initiatives and are gaining an unfair competitive advantage over our city.   

What we need is a joint effort of this Council, all of our Provincial MPP’s and even our Federal MP’s to unite with one voice  and present our demands to Premier Wynne and Prime Minister Trudeau.   We don’t need more photo opps and press conferences that all they seem to do is offer slogans and promises. 

Madam Mayor, it’s long past time for you to be totally transparent about the results of your many meetings with other levels of governments, and your persuasive successes at bringing new, “game changing” infrastructure investments by the provincial and federal governments to Brampton. Announced promises just don’t cut it anymore!

Thank  you.


Chris Bejnar & Doug Bryden

Co-Chairs CFBB

The following is a letter that was sent to all Ministers and MPPs on February 14th, 2017


Good afternoon everyone,

Tomorrow, Brampton City Council will be debating the next phase for our LRT project.  A project that has seen its share of controversy and spirited debate over the past 2 years.   Brampton City Council will be considering two alternate routes (McLaughlin & Kennedy) with both routes having the potential to connect the Hurontario LRT to the Downtown Brampton GO Station.  City Council will be debating and voting on a staff recommendation report that commits funding to begin an expensive EA process for these alternate routes.

Our belief is that neither route has the potential to combine several projects like the alignment we are proposing, an underground Valley Land route.  A route that was never given the opportunity to be properly studied and debated by Council.

It is not our goal to point fingers or blame anyone at this point. All we are asking is that you spend 5 minutes from your busy day to have a look at our proposal.  

It is our hope that some of you might see what we see in this proposal.  A proposal that creates an exciting opportunity to plan and combine several infrastructure projects into one, potentially saving all levels of government tens of millions of tax dollars. (Riverwalk, Flood Plain, LRT, removal of Centennial Park garbage dump)

With the recent announcement of a University for Brampton, we feel that the underground valley land route deserves a second look.  As Joe Pitushka, Commissioner, Public Works & Engineering stated at a Brampton Council meeting last year, the alternate LRT routes for Brampton only received a “cursory review” as the Province and Metrolinx were primarily focused on getting a seriously flawed Main Street alignment approved through our Downtown.  A Main Street route alignment that was rejected by a vote of 10 -1 by our previous Council and 7-4 by our current Council.

We don’t want to see another missed opportunity for our City.  A city that we believe has tremendous  potential if we can get the cooperation from all levels of government and the understanding that Brampton has not received its fair share of infrastructure funding over the past decade to cope with our explosive growth.  Brampton is Canada’s 9th largest city, Ontario’s 4th largest city and has seen the highest % growth of any major Canadian city since the last census.  Our Downtown has the potential to become one of the most vibrant pedestrian and transit focused city centres in the 905 region.

It is our belief that an Underground Valley Land route has the potential to help achieve this goal.

We hope that you’ll agree!

Below are some images to help visualize the proposed route alignment.

Yours truly,

Doug Bryden and Chris Bejnar


Citizen For a Better Brampton



Drawings are not to scale.  Broken line represents tunnel portion.  Solid line represents surface/elevated portion.

(4 LRT station stops at Brampton Mall, Peel Memorial, University, Downtown GO Mobility Hub)


CFBB Preferred LRT Route for Brampton (Pros & Cons)

City Council is about to debate the Terms of Reference for Environmental Assessments of two possible routes to move the LRT from Steeles to the GO Station in downtown Brampton. Those routes to be studied over the next three years are up Kennedy or up McLaughlin. New Brampton wants the discussion to include a McMurchy route. CFBB want to have an underground Valley Route considered as well, since it wasn’t properly debated and could very well be a compromise that all stakeholders can unite on.


The route involving Etobicoke Valley, one of the route options considered by the City earlier, was not thoroughly analysed on its own merits, but they focused their opinion on an at grade or above grade rail line, the outcry by neighbours, and the rather flippant response from the TRCA. Serious attention was not given to a below grade route under the park.

At the outset, we believe that of all the factors that need to be considered in route selection, ridership and increased assessment, particularly commercial, must be close or at the top of the list.

1) Earlier studies have revealed that LRT equipment, its maintenance, and its operation are not inexpensive, and shortfalls in fare generation will have to be covered by the taxpayer for a considerable time into the future.

2) To assist the City in covering operational and capital costs related to the LRT, new commercial assessment is absolutely essential, so route selection must be able to forecast potential new development opportunities that will be attractive to the development and risk community.

It is important to understand that LRT works best as a fast, efficient method of transportation from one point destination to another. It is not focused on rider convenience as a street car line would with multiple stops on route. Therefore, station locations for the LRT take on real significance and attraction for density concentration nodes, and these locations are fed by bus transit or adjacent parking areas. As well, locating stops at existing concentrations makes obvious sense not only for increased assessment possibilities, but to take advantage of ridership potential already in place.

Valley Route

Explained simply, the valley route envisages the following:

The proposed double rail LRT line would proceed from the Gateway at Steeles (north side) occupying the centre boulevard of Main Street and running north to Nanwood. At Nanwood, the line would enter a centre tunnel and veer to the east under Main Street to the park. It would proceed northeast through the park underground, not by tunneling, but by the less costly cut and cover process. At the north end of the park, it would tunnel (using a tunnel bore) under Centre Street at the CN Rail line and re-emerge in the centre of Centre Street at grade at a station beside the Peel Memorial Centre and future Health Sciences Hub.

From there, the line would turn to the west, run along the centre of Queen Street at grade and just before the Rail line bridge over Queen, gently rise on pylons veering to the northwest, and then follow the adjacent rail track, past the south side of the YWCA, and running over and above Main Street to the GO Station platform. Please refer to the attached images for clarification.


Advantages (PROS) of this route

  • It’s a more direct and efficient route from the Steeles Gateway Terminal and considerably shorter in length than the McLaughlin or Kennedy routes. This could potentially save tens of millions of dollars.
  • It will be 0.4 minutes faster to reach the Downtown GO than the original HMLRT. It will be several minutes faster than either the McLaughlin or Kennedy routes.
  • It continues the centre boulevard right-of-way delineation from Mississauga
  • Adjacent property acquisition to widen Main Street would in all likelihood not be necessary because of Main’s existing width from Steeles to Nanwood.
  • It allows the Steeles LRT station to be located on the north side of Steeles rather than the south side, obviating the need the pedestrian tunnel under Steeles, and places the station adjacent to existing development and the planned redevelopment of Shopper’s World which is slated to include a significant number of residential units and related commercial assessment
  • It could allow for a significant mixed-use re-development of the Brampton Mall, to move ahead at Nanwood.   Crombie REIT, the owners of the Brampton Mall would be very excited to have both an LRT station and the flood risk from the Etobicoke Creek resolved. Both possible with this route alignment.
  • By routing the LRT under the Park, shared use of the Park will not be negatively affected even during construction, and normal use by pedestrians, cyclists and recreation activities will see minimal impact. Enhancements to the existing tree canopy and active transportation infrastructure would be enhanced throughout the parkland after tunnel construction has been completed.
  • The opportunity will be available to finally jump start the Riverwalk project and include potential remediation that will remove the flooding concern downtown and clean out the covered over garbage dump in Centennial Park by doing that work at the same time as the installation of the LRT tunnel.
  • A thorough clean-up of the Etobicoke Creek (litter & debris) from north of Queen St. to south of the Brampton Mall would be initiated by the construction activity.
  • By having a station adjacent to the Peel Memorial Centre, an ambulatory facility for day health activities, it will not only service Peel Memorial visitor and patient needs, but it will spur the development of related medical uses and new business, and increase ridership projections and assessment. This will enhance the chances to fulfill the Mayor’s Health Sciences Hub vision for this area.
  • Should a decision be reached to place the new University in Rosalea Park, the LRT can provide a convenient station for the 4,000-5,000 students that are destined to be schooled there. The station would be located at the abandoned City of Brampton parking lot adjacent to Maple Ave. on the north side of Queen St.
  • By creating the LRT station at the University, a second campus location could be considered for the Brampton Central Library. A simple pedestrian bridge over Queen St. E. could link this site to the main University campus and the Station.
  • Brampton’s contribution for the University could now include the land at Rosalea Park and the Central Library to further strengthen our position for a world class Downtown campus.
  • The LRT tracks will require some sub-standard property acquisition along Nelson St. E, opening up some real opportunities to redevelop commercially and help achieve the New Brampton vision for this part of our Downtown.
  • The station for the LRT at the downtown GO will conveniently be accessed from the GO station and its potential major Hub Station multi-use redevelopment, that could include a hotel, residential condominiums, retail and parking facilities (underground or parking garage).
  • As a second phase, the LRT line could extend along Queen St. E. to the Bramalea City Centre with a connection at Centre St. S. a straight forward proposition. It would resemble the “T” crossover just like the one staff has proposed for the Steeles and Hurontario intersection. Please refer to the Feb. 15, 2017 Recommendation Report – Hurontario LRT , Item 9.2.2-8   “Attachment B”
  • As a third phase, the LRT tracks can be easily merged with the existing Orangeville-Brampton rail line running north, connecting north Brampton and Caledon to the LRT rail corridor and RER network. This corridor is already in place! LRT stations at Williams Pkwy, Bovaird Dr. W, Sandalwood Pkwy W, Mayfield Rd. and just north of the Hwy. 410 & 10 interchange in Caledon would now be possible
  • Potential of combining planning and possibly construction for major infrastructure projects like the Etobicoke Creek Revitalization (Riverwalk) , Centennial Park garbage dump clean-up, eliminate the flood risk that has plagued our Downtown core for half a century, and create a more efficient and direct LRT route connecting the Downtown GO to the RER network. Millions of dollars could be saved with this methodology.
  • The route does not contribute to gridlock and downtown traffic conflict, trying to share the narrow roads with multi vehicle users
  • Nor is there any disastrous shut down of the downtown streets during LRT installation
  • Nor is there any conflict with heritage structures with foundations that could not withstand the constant noise and vibration that adjacent tracks would inflict.
  • Nor are there any safety issues like we would have with the original HMLRT proposal to run parallel with the sidewalks through our Downtown.
  • Nor is there a sharing of the LRT lanes with cars like with the original HMLRT plan.
  • Costly maintenance from salt application and snow plows or potential tree canopy conflicts along Main St. S with the original HMLRT proposal would be avoided with the underground parkland route.
  • There would be no need to eliminate 2 car lanes from Main Street from north of Wellington St. W. to Church St. W. as was planned with the original HMLRT proposal. This would have resulted in traffic chaos throughout the Downtown core and would have created commuter frustration, especially during peak morning and evening rush hours.
  • On-Street parking can remain on Main St. providing the retail merchants much needed access for their customers and delivery of supplies.
  • With the underground parkland route by-passing the Downtown business core, the 2-3 year construction period that would be necessary would no longer be required. This presented a potential of economic hardship for many Downtown merchants.


Disadvantages (CONS) of the route

  • The TRCA, the owners of the Etobicoke Creek, to date have not felt inclined to be part of the overall growth needs of Brampton and do not see themselves as a planning participant. Given all the urban areas around the world that have been more open to see innovative ways to be active positive participants in environmental planning strategies, the TRCA reluctance hopefully can be overcome with direct open negotiation or with Provincial government decision.
  • Neighbourhood fear that results from lack of understanding, spirited by certain Councillors and their political agenda.


It’s hard not to see the merits of the Valley Route proposal in our opinion, and we would hope that it will be reconsidered by the Councillors at City Hall. Given recent changes in funding directives and possibilities coming from the Province, the acceptance of the two routes to be the subject of Environmental Assessments should be delayed and expanded to include the Valley Route.


CFBB- Citizens For a Better Brampton


CFBB’s Brief Outline for Terms of Reference- Alternate LRT Route studies – Kennedy and McLaughlin

These two routes have been determined by democratic decision of Council to be the only two routes to be studied by staff, carrying out the Environmental Assessment of each route so as to allow direct comparison clearly and reasonable debate thoroughly by Council. The staff report should be prepared and presented within a 6-8 month period from Council agreement on terms of reference, and regular process reviews are mandated by Council of staff to assess progress being made.

As a note, it is understood that complete accuracy of information is based on reasonable assumptions by reasonable professionals and not an end in itself, thereby allowing recommendations to be forthcoming from staff and the public within the proscribed time period to completion.

Here are some terms of reference that CFBB would like to be included for review.

1) Comparisons are to look at the viability and cost of providing at grade, above grade and below grade installations, and combinations of each as deemed appropriate.

2) Comparisons must take into account existing infrastructure impacts, such as water and sewer lines newly required or existing and in need of replacement, bridging conflicts, and potential use of discontinued rail rights-of-way.

3) Comparisons must have investigated whether the routes are to be contained in existing roads and rights-of-way, or whether road widenings and property acquisitions will be needed and guesstimates on the cost of such purchases or expropriations included, and assumptions used on intensity and preferred densification.

4) Based on 3) above, comparisons should include some projection on ridership potential that will arise from station location, and include assumptions on employment and type of development occupancy.

 5) Comparisons must include accessing the Downtown GO station efficiently, taking into account the potential of mobility hub development, clearly show how alignment will interface with a potential Queen Street LRT line, and future LRT expansions to the Caledon border.

6) Comparisons must include the impact of changes in bus transit routing which will act as feeders to the LRT at chosen station nodes.

7) Comparisons on time for the trains to go from Steeles and the presently committed terminus of the LRT line, to the Downtown Brampton GO Station.

8) Comparisons on costs required for each line, including station design and signalization.

9) Comparisons that reflect potential traffic congestion and conflict on each route, and an outline of potential safety challenges and ridership convenience requirements.

10 Comparisons must include potential and optimal assessment increases which would improve the tax base.

11) Comparisons must include inventory of potential development sites that would be considered for intensification. (Office, institutional, residential)

12) The TPAP for the Main Street alignment was completed in a 6 month time frame following the format below. The TPAP was endorsed by Metrolinx and was sufficient to receive full funding from the Province. It is our recommendation that we follow the same TPAP timeline for both the McLaughlin and Kennedy routes.


Main Street TPAP Process:

TPAP will take six months and will examine impacts to transportation and utilities, socio-economic, natural and cultural environments.

The information gathered will be publicly released in June as an Environmental Project Report (EPR).

The timeline for the TPAP includes:

  • 120 days for consultation on positive and negative environmental impacts and preparation of the EPR;
  • 30 days for public/government agency review and comment on the EPR;
  • 35 days for the minister of the environment to decide if the project can proceed, or if more work is needed.

During the TPAP, work will continue on the design of the project. Brampton and Mississauga councils will be updated after the 120 days of consultation.

http://CFBB’s Brief Outline for Terms of Reference- Alternate LRT Route studies – Kennedy and McLaughlin

Doug Bryden & Chris Bejnar Co-Chairs CFBB

07. July 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: LRT

CFBB Comment – July 6, 2016 – Approval of the June 20th Planning and Infrastructure Committee Report (McLaughlin and Kennedy EA’s)


CFBB applauds the decision reached at the last Planning and Infrastructure Committee to accept the staff recommendation to proceed with Environmental Assessments on the two remaining LRT routes – up McLaughlin or Kennedy to arrive at the Brampton Downtown GO Mobility Hub. Ratifying that decision by approving the Minutes of the Committee meeting at Council on July 6th now allows staff to focus on moving these two projects ahead, quickly and in a well- organized fashion. Regular and frequent progress reports to Planning and Council and to the public will be essential to ensure the directive from Council is both respected and honoured in a timely manner. It is our belief that both studies can be completed within an 18 month period as to allow THIS Council the opportunity to finally determine what alignment choice is best.


It is not a secret that, in CFBB’s opinion, the history of this file has not been exemplary, and on critical review, it should provide instruction for future significant infrastructural incursions by higher government levels.   Of utmost importance is that decisions relating to major infrastructure commitments and their local impact should rest entirely with the Municipal government and their elected representatives.


The announcement by Metrolinx on their proposed LRT route through Downtown to the GO station, “fully funded” and on a “take it or leave it basis”, was a surprise to Council and the community, for the route had been overwhelmingly turned down by the previous Council 10-1 . The present Council was simply “not ready” to approve the route without further study and analysis. Further, upon review, neither was Metrolinx ready, for there were too many unknowns and incomplete answers dealing with ridership projections, operating responsibilities for shortfalls, and potential capital cost exposures that would befall the Brampton taxpayer. It was clear that the announcement had been premature, and a rejection of the offer, along with the disproportionate amount that was projected to be allotted to Brampton (less than $400 million), was not only a responsible decision by Council, but a prudent one.


Subsequently, after yet another attempt by staff to put forward a tunneling option through Downtown at considerable cost, Council decided to have staff carry out complete studies and analyses on three alternative routes – McLaughlin, Kennedy, and through a small section of the Etobicoke Creek valley. It was expected that comparisons of all three routes would be presented by staff to Council at the June 20th Planning and Infrastructure Committee meeting, who would then fully debate the merits of each, hopefully make a decision, and have staff proceed to undertake an Environmental Assessment of the chosen route for comment and input from the public. That, of course, did not happen. Staff not only did not do the detailed comparisons of the three alternatives, but chose instead to remove consideration of the Valley route because of a negative reaction by the TRCA Board. If staff had completed a detailed report as instructed by Council on March 7th, proper debate and discussion could have had Council agreeing to move forward with only ONE route alignment. Instead, they recommended EA’s for the two remaining routes, doubling the cost to the taxpayer.


In order to move this LRT file ahead, prevent further wastage of time and money, and have a “shovel ready” Council approved project available for funding when the next tranche of transit funding from the higher level governments might be allotted, Council approved the staff recommendation. At least, both prospective routes avoid dealing with the challenging flood plain, which has brought so much grief and angst to Council and impacted communities in the past.


CFBB will be keeping a close watching brief on staff progress on these assessments, and will be prepared to comment on progress reports and the final debate when the detailed route studies are complete and presented.



Chris and Doug – July 6, 2016