Here’s my response to a long-time Malton resident who’s concerned about the progress of the Goreway Bridge:
The expropriation of land needed for the bridge is underway by the City of Brampton. The bridge will actually be on their side of the tracks. They are required to purchase the land needed to widen the approach to the bridge and to detour the tracks temporarily while the bridge is under construction.
The City of Mississauga is paying for half of the construction costs and the money has been in our capitol budget account for several years.
When I was elected almost three years ago, I promised to get to the bottom of the mystery as to why the bridge was constantly being delayed. After considerable research I found the land on the Brampton side of the tracks was owned by the Province of Ontario. They had confiscated it from the former owner because of a huge backlog of employment and other HST related tax arrears. They had put it in the hands of the provincial realty services to auction off at the highest price they could get to balance the account owed.
The land itself is not particularly useful because much of it is in flood plain. Through several closed bids, the province was not coming close to achieving what they wanted to put toward the money owed. Through dozens of persistent calls to my friend, Finance Minister Charles Sousa, I managed to convince him to offer the property again at which time the City of Brampton’s Mayor, Linda Jeffrey, had their real estate officials put in a bid. In the end, Brampton was out bid by a private businessman but he purchased the land with the knowledge that Brampton would be expropriating two slivers of land for the bridge and temporarily routing a detoured train track.
I know it may be hard to believe it could take almost three years to solve the riddle of the property ownership, but it did. Plans are finally under way for the rail line to be temporarily moved and construction to begin within the next year. As you can see with the length of time it has taken to construct the Torbram Bridge, this won’t be an over night project but we are finally on our way.
I don’t make election promises and then walk away from them. But this one was very very difficult to keep. It required a great deal of persistence and a few friends in Queens Park and Brampton City Hall. But we’re finally on our way.
I hope you are noticing some of the other election promises I’ve kept in the rejuvenation of Malton: the refurbished Paul Coffey Arena, the Castles Playground starting construction in July, the restoration of the CF 100 jet on Derry Road, the third annual Canada Day Celebration with giant fireworks at Westwood Square, the planters and trees along Airport Road and dozens of other steady improvements to the Village.