MPP Arnott continues to fight for local projects as Legislature recesses
Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2015
MPP Arnott continues to fight for local projects as
(Queen’s Park) – Bill 6, Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2013, passed the
Ontario Legislature in a unanimous vote at Third Reading on June 4.
The Bill requires the Government to publish a 10 year infrastructure plan, which must be
updated every 5 years.
Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott is the PC Critic responsible for Bill 6 and spoke
in favour of it at Third Reading on June 3.
“There’s nothing stopping them from bringing forward a long-term infrastructure plan,
even if Bill 6 doesn’t pass. ….But certainly…as the Official Opposition, we support the
idea of long-term infrastructure planning for the Province of Ontario,” Mr. Arnott told the
House during his remarks on the Bill.
Mr. Arnott also took the opportunity to continue to fight for local infrastructure projects
which he believes should be included on any long term provincial infrastructure plan.
“The government is committed to around $13.5 billion in infrastructure [spending this
year],” Mr. Arnott pointed out. “When you look at the list, for example, about $2.5 billion
on provincial highways, $2.7 billion on hospital infrastructure, $1.9 billion on education
infrastructure; justice, $243 million. …I think it’s therefore reasonable for us, as
Members of the Opposition, to point out some of the infrastructure needs in our Ridings.”
Among the priorities Mr. Arnott identified were the Highway 6 Morriston Bypass through
the Township of Puslinch, the need for a new Courthouse in Halton Region and a new
Holy Cross Catholic School in Georgetown, the need for funding for the Erin Waste
Water Management System and the Station Road Bridge in Hillsburgh, all-day, the
importance of the Government following through on its commitment to all-day two-way
GO Train service for Acton and Georgetown, and investment in high speed internet in
Mr. Arnott had a number of other projects that he also wanted to raise, but ran out of
time and had to be cut off by the Speaker.
The Ontario Government has committed to spending $130 billion on infrastructure over
the next ten years.
“Our Riding has a long list of important local infrastructure needs,” Mr. Arnott said
afterwards. “The projects that I raised, as well as a number of other ones, require the
support of the Provincial Government.”
The spring session of the Ontario Legislature wrapped up on June 4. With the
Legislature in recess, Mr. Arnott will be working in the Wellington-Halton Hills Riding
Office and in our communities in the coming weeks.
(Attached: Hansard record of Mr. Arnott’s speech in the Ontario Legislature, June 3,
– 30 –
Ted Arnott, MPP
Ontario Hansard – 03 June 2015
Mr. Ted Arnott: I’m very pleased to have this opportunity this afternoon to speak in support of Bill 6 at
third reading. Our caucus supported this bill at second reading as well.
I understand the bill was sent to a standing committee of the Legislature and was amended at committee,
but I particularly want to acknowledge the constructive work that was done by my colleagues on the
committee: Jeff Yurek, the member for Elgin-Middlesex-London, and Lisa Thompson, who of course is
the member for Huron-Bruce. I want to thank them. Normally, within our caucus, the critic for the bill-in
that case, me-would have been subbed in on the committee, but because the committee was time allocated
and the committee met on the Monday of this week and the previous Monday for public hearings, I, of
course, Mr. Speaker, was in the Chair. We’re doing double duty many days here, trying to get it all done,
and I want to express my thanks to my colleagues who are actually the members of that committee for our
party, generally speaking. They carried on and did the work in committee.
There were public hearings. The minister who I follow, the government House leader, indicated that there
were hearings. Yes, there were, and at the same time, I want to acknowledge the work that has been done
by my colleague the member for Dufferin-Caledon. She has been assertively bringing forward the idea
that we need to do more to recycle aggregates. There was actually an amendment to Bill 6 that was passed
by the committee. It’s now section 9.1: “Infrastructure planning and investment should endeavour to make
use of acceptable recycled aggregates.” Again, this is an amendment that was based largely on work that
was done by the member for Dufferin-Caledon, and she deserves enormous credit. I think we need to
recognize the opportunity that recycled aggregates represent and ensure that that opportunity is reflected
in this legislation.
Bill 6, the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2014: This bill, if passed, enacts the Infrastructure
for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2014. The bill would enshrine a series of principles, requirements and
authorities to promote improvement in infrastructure planning in the province of Ontario.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, the provincial government, in the absence of Bill 6, brought forward recently
a long-term infrastructure plan. That was, I think, appreciated by the people of Ontario whose projects
were referenced in the plan.
We pointed out at second reading that, in fact, the government was able to do that work before the
election in the absence of Bill 6. So there’s nothing stopping them from bringing forward a long-term
infrastructure plan, even if Bill 6 doesn’t pass. But, certainly, the government wants to appear to be
committed to ensuring that there is, on an ongoing basis going forward, long-term infrastructure planning,
hence the need for Bill 6.
The government, in Bill 6, outlines a number of specific principles upon which infrastructure plans would
be developed. That has been thoroughly canvassed, I think, in the second reading debate. But, certainly, as
I said, as the official opposition, we support the idea of long-term infrastructure planning for the province
The government tells us they’re committed to a $130-billion long-term infrastructure plan over 10 years.
We see, in this year’s provincial budget, the government, in its capital plan, is committing to an
expenditure on infrastructure of $13.536 billion. That’s maybe where you get the $130-billion figure-times
10. The government is committed to around $13.5 billion in infrastructure, when you look at the list; for
example, about $2.5 billion on provincial highways, $2.7 billion on hospital infrastructure, $1.9 billion on
education infrastructure; justice, $243 million. So, of course, the government has committed in the
provincial budget to this kind of expenditure.
I think it’s therefore reasonable for us, as members of the opposition, to point out some of the
infrastructure needs that we have in our ridings. This is something that I’ve repeatedly raised in the
Legislature on a number of occasions over the last several years now, and that is the need for the
government to put the Highway 6 Morriston bypass project on the five-year plan for capital construction
Mr. Ted Arnott: I want to thank the member for Essex for his support.
I’ve raised this I don’t know how many times, Mr. Speaker, and I will continue to do so. You, as a member
representing the Hamilton area, understand that this is an important project for the Hamilton area. I’ve
raised it in the Legislature; I’ve raised it in committee.
We have put together something called the Morriston Bypass Coalition, which had a number of meetings
in recent months with key officials within the government, including senior staff and several of the
The Morriston Bypass Coalition is a group of businesses, chambers of commerce and municipalities: Con
Cast Pipe, Sleeman, Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Canada Bread, the Private Motor Truck Council of
Canada, Nestlé Waters, Tim Hortons, Maple Leaf, the Freight Management Association of Canada, Fluke
Transportation Group, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Hamilton Port Authority, the city of Hamilton,
the Hamilton international airport, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Cargill, the county of
Wellington, the Ontario Trucking Association, the Southern Ontario Gateway Council, the township of
Puslinch, the city of Guelph and, of course, the county of Wellington.
They have done a good economic analysis of the need to proceed with this project, and we are currently
waiting to hear back from the Minister of Transportation on a recent request that we have made. We know
that after the budget has passed-and, of course, the budget bill passed in the House this morning. The
Ministry of Transportation now knows what its capital allocation is going to be for new highway
construction in the year ahead. When they have that information, they’re in a position to look at
modifications to the five-year capital plan-the southern highways program, as the ministry calls it. Each
year, they do projects that are on that plan, and that makes room for new projects to be added.
I would, again, respectfully request to the minister that he, as soon as possible, agree to meet with the
township of Puslinch council representative-hopefully, the county of Wellington could be represented at
that meeting, as well as the Morriston Bypass Coalition-so that he could hear for himself the important
urgency of this project. I would hope that he would be in a position, then, to add it to the five-year plan of
I want to, again, talk about the economic study that was done by the township of Puslinch-Mayor Dennis
Lever and the township council and staff who took the lead on this to get this done. There was a report
that was prepared by Dr. Clarence Woudsma of the University of Waterloo, which underlined the need to
move forward with the Morriston bypass. The study included reference to the current traffic logjams
through Morriston, which are costing commuters tens of millions of dollars every year, and the
commercial traffic costs are in the millions of dollars annually. This report documented that the economic
cost of the current logjam that exists through the hamlet of Morriston, in the township of Puslinch.
I also want to again remind the government that the Premier herself, in question period in July, implicitly
acknowledged the importance of the Morriston bypass project. I had raised it in the Legislature the
previous day, and in response to a question from our Leader of the Opposition, she said she felt that the
issue I had raised the previous day was an important priority. As a former Minister of Transportation, we
know-hopefully-that she has an understanding of the transportation needs of the province, perhaps better
than some, and she would, hopefully, want her Minister of Transportation to follow through on this
implicit statement that she made, that it should be made a priority. Again, I would ask the minister to do
Again, the Highway 6 Morriston bypass needs to be added to the Ministry of Transportation’s five-year
plan for new highway construction. Again, the Premier has acknowledged that the project is needed. The
Morriston Bypass Coalition includes the township of Puslinch, the county of Wellington, the cities of
Guelph and Hamilton, as well as chambers of commerce and prominent businesses such as Tim Hortons,
Maple Leaf Foods, Nestlé Waters, Sleeman Brewery, Canada Bread, and Cargill.
Again, the township of Puslinch has done their homework, as was requested by a previous Minister of
Transportation, who, of course, now serves as the Minister of Energy, who suggested that they put
together this business coalition and study the economic impact. This has been done, and it is now finally
up to the government to respond.
Another important infrastructure priority in our riding is the need for a new courthouse in Halton region.
The existing courthouse in Milton was built more than 50 years ago. It’s no longer adequate to meet the
needs of one of the province’s fastest-growing areas.
I have had the opportunity to visit and tour the courthouse myself, and I encouraged the court users to also
invite the other Halton-area MPPs, who subsequently had an opportunity to tour the Halton courthouse
and see for themselves. We’ve tried to work together, across the aisle, setting aside partisanship, to
advocate with the Attorney General on the need for a new courthouse. I think all of us-the member for
Halton, the member for Burlington, and the member for Oakville, who serves as the Minister of Labour-
are in agreement that this needs to be a priority.
I’ve raised this in the Legislature in question period. The Attorney General indicated again that-she said it
was a priority. We’re trying to find out what that means. Obviously, we would have expected some greater
commitment in the provincial budget. It wasn’t there, but we continue to identify that as a priority, as local
MPPs, and we will continue to do so until the government finally does the right thing.
I would also want to acknowledge the good work that has been done by Halton regional council and
Halton regional chair Gary Carr. They have worked hard to raise this issue with the government.
Courthouse users, including judges, lawyers and staff, and all of us, as I said-the Halton-area MPPs, the
four of us-are behind the project. We would identify that as a priority in our area and urge the government
to respond and announce that a new courthouse has been approved, and then proceed with the planning
for it, and then we would look forward to seeing it built.
I’m pleased that the Minister of Education is in the House today. I would again call to her attention the
need for a new Holy Cross Catholic school in Georgetown. In 2013, the Holy Cross Catholic school in
Georgetown was the Halton Catholic District School Board’s number one priority that they submitted to
the government. They had a number of conversations with the minister, and I raised it in the House on a
number of occasions. They put together a good business case. But unfortunately, they were not successful
in getting approval for a replacement school.
I have had the opportunity to visit this particular school. I’ve toured it, I think, three times or maybe four
times, working with the local school board trustee, Mark Rowe, who does a great job. The school was
built in the late 1950s. It’s currently in a deteriorating condition. A recent facility condition survey
indicated that the building will require over $5 million in repairs over the next eight years, to maintain it
in an acceptable condition.
Then there is also insufficient room on the current site to expand the school, to support anticipated
population growth in Georgetown. So even if they don’t get approval for a new school, they’re going to
have to spend $5 million just to maintain it in an acceptable condition for the foreseeable future, for the
next eight years.
Certainly, the school board wants to go ahead and build a new replacement school. I tried to do everything
I can, as a member of the Legislature, to draw attention to this issue, working with the school board
trustee and the local school board, and I will continue to do so.
I’m also privileged to represent the town of Erin. The town of Erin’s waste water management system is an
important infrastructure project on the horizon in our riding. The town of Erin has been working for years
on a servicing and settlement master plan-they call it the SSMP-and an environmental assessment appears
to be the next step. The town of Erin is probably the largest southern Ontario community without a
communal waste water management system. They still have septics in their backyards, and we need to
move ahead to modernize the waste water treatment in that community.
The lack of a sewage system and communal waste water treatment system is impacting the town’s ability
to attract commercial and industrial investment and, currently, it’s forcing ratepayers to pay increasingly
higher taxes. But the town cannot afford to build this system without the support of the provincial
government. According to published reports, the potential capital costs to provide sewage
treatment/sanitary services for both Erin and Hillsburgh are estimated to be as much as $58 million, with
annual operating costs of $900,000.
The town of Erin currently has a population of around 11,000 people, and approximately 4,500 people
live in Hillsburgh and the former village of Erin. They need to move ahead with this project, but they
cannot move ahead without substantial financial support from the province of Ontario. This is something
that we’ve raised in the Legislature on a number of occasions now in the context of this discussion on Bill
6, and I will continue to raise it until we receive a satisfactory response.
Also in the town of Erin, we have a situation that has arisen in recent years: the Station Road bridge. The
Station Road rehabilitation is an urgent project due to significant safety concerns. This is in the hamlet of
Hillsburgh, in my riding. Station Road is located on top of an earthen berm which creates a dam. There’s
also a bridge within the dam to allow the Upper Credit River to pass underneath the road. There are
significant structural concerns with the dam, and a hazard assessment recently done identified a high
hazard potential should the dam collapse. There’s also a fire station located adjacent to the bridge, and
when the road was closed previously, an incident occurred which delayed emergency response, and
nobody wants this to happen again. The Station Road bridge has been identified by the Credit Valley
conservation authority as a safety concern.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has issued a temporary permit for the repair of the failed culvert,
which requires a permanent solution to the entire dam situation. An article that appeared in August 2014
in the Wellington Advertiser indicated that the town had received an 18-month extension from the
Ministry of Natural Resources to come up with a permanent solution. So the clock is ticking. It’s almost a
year now since that edict came down from the ministry. Of course, the town council and the town staff
want to do something, and they’ve come to my office to discuss it with me. I’ve written the government
many times seeking financial support from the province for the town of Erin for this project, and I’ve been
advised that the town cannot complete the project without “the financial assistance of other levels of
The town of Erin sought funding under the ministry’s small, rural and northern infrastructure capital
program, but they’ve been denied funding. They were told that their expression of interest did not pass the
pre-screening process because other applicants had “highly critical projects” with “more challenging
This is totally unacceptable to me. It’s totally unacceptable to the people of the town of Erin and the
council. I think there has to be room for support from the provincial government for a project like this,
especially when the provincial government is ordering the town to deal with it within an 18-month time
frame and, of course, at the same time denying them the financial support they need to make it happen.
I would also like to talk about GO Transit service. In December 2008, I tabled a private member’s
resolution calling upon the government to extend GO train service to include stops in Acton, Kitchener
and Waterloo by September 2011. Again, it was in 2008 that I brought that forward in this Legislature.
While the new service was finally operational in January 2012-in fact, Mr. Speaker, I had the chance to
ride that first train from Acton to Toronto and Union Station to come to work that day-there are only two
trains in the morning and two in the evening. There are six in the morning from Georgetown and six in the
afternoon, but only two trains morning and afternoon serving the community of Acton.
During the lead-up to the most recent provincial election campaign, the government promised full-day,
two-way GO train service between Waterloo region and the GTA. However, their promise at that time
lacked details and no specific time frame was committed to. When the House resumed sitting in July, after
the provincial election, I raised this in the Legislature in the form of a private member’s resolution;
actually on the very first day it was possible to do so, the day of the throne speech. I asked the rhetorical
question: How does the government define full-day, two-way service? Does it mean trains every hour
through the day, every half-hour? And what is the time frame? I tabled that resolution, and it continues to
be one of the top three private members’ notices of motion on the order paper.
Subsequent to that, and in response to a series of questions from our opposition critic for transportation,
the member for Kitchener-Conestoga, we were informed that it might take as many as 10 years before this
commitment will be achieved, and that is apparently the government’s commitment now. During the
election campaign, I don’t think anybody expected that it would take 10 years. And while it’s fair to say
that they weren’t giving us a specific time frame, to suggest it was going to take 10 years was not
something they told us at that time. I commend my colleague the member from Kitchener-Conestoga for
at least getting that much information, but we would encourage the government to proceed more
expeditiously than that and get this done as quickly as possible.
I also want to mention, because it has come up at meetings with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture this
week, another initiative that I brought forward in the Legislature with respect to high-speed Internet.
There are still large parts of the province, particularly in rural Ontario, that do not have access to high-
speed Internet; at least high-speed Internet that’s affordable. The Internet service in rural Ontario is often
slow, unreliable and expensive, and there are some residents of Ontario who still have no alternative but
I would say that reliable access to high-speed Internet is essential in today’s economy. Whether you own a
farm, run a business or use the Internet at home, we all depend on being connected. This is another issue I
have raised, and will continue to raise in the House, trying to get the government to bring forward a
provincial strategy to ensure that all residents of Ontario have access to affordable high-speed Internet.
There are a number of other projects.
In conclusion, I need to acknowledge the fact that the government, in its budget, has reinstated the
Connecting Links Program. It was something our party called for, for a long time, and I want to express
my appreciation for that. I wish I had more time, Mr. Speaker, because I’ve got a long list of projects that
I’d like to talk about.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Thank you.
Mr. Ted Arnott: I know I’m out of time.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): You are.
Mr. Ted Arnott: Thank you very much, and again, we support Bill 6 and will be supporting it at third