The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) last month released its decision to approve CN’s proposed C$250 million logistics hub/intermodal facility, to be built in Milton, Ontario.
The move follows the Canadian government’s Jan. 21, 2021 approval, which would subject the project to 325 environmental/community-protection conditions, making it the most stringently regulated intermodal logistics hub in Canada.
The facility—including a rail yard with more than 12 miles of track—would be built in “a provincially designated significant employment zone,” on 400 of the 1,000 acres of land owned by CN east of Tremaine Road and south of Britannia Road in Milton, and adjacent to CN’s Halton Subdivision. It’s projected to handle four intermodal trains per day.
According to the Class I railroad, major project components include an administration building, maintenance garage for terminal equipment and areas for short-term container storage; realignment and extension of the existing main line; a 1.7-kilometer (1-mile) truck entrance road and queuing area on CN property; an employee entrance off Tremaine Road; an underpass at Lower Base Line “to maintain traffic flow and facilitate east-west passage for all vehicles including emergency vehicles”; berms and barriers in strategic locations, planted with native Ontario vegetation “to blend with the surrounding environment and reduce off-site noise and visual effects”; and a stormwater management system “designed to capture and treat all terminal water runoff.”
CTA wrote in its Nov. 22 decision (download 104-page PDF below) that it “considers the location of the subject railway lines to be reasonable taking into consideration the requirements for railway operations and services and the interests of the localities that will be affected by the line.”
“CN was pleased to receive the decision of the Canadian Transportation Agency respecting the proposed Milton Logistics Hub,” CN said in a Nov. 23 statement, which was released to Railway Age. “The decision is lengthy and CN is reviewing it carefully.
“It follows the extensive environmental review process, which was completed on January 21, 2021 when the federal Minister of Environment issued a decision statement with 325 conditions designed to protect the community and the environment. CN is committed to continued engagement with indigenous groups, communities and interested parties as we move forward with the project, including with the establishment of a Community Consultation Committee.
“The Milton Logistics Hub will be an important link in the North American supply chain. Locally, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is growing rapidly, and the approved project is needed to handle the growing demand for household goods, consumer products, and other necessities of day‑to‑day life in one of Canada’s fastest‑growing regions.
“CN will be providing more details on next steps in the near future, including the nature and timing of early site preparation and subsequent construction activities.”
CN announced in 2015 its plan to build the hub approximately 30 miles west of Toronto. Since then, community members, Aboriginal groups and local governments have raised environmental and other concerns, and the railroad has worked to engage and consult with them. CN submitted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a formal application to the Canadian government in 2016.