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Legislative Assembly of Ontario
April 26, 2006 No. 66A (afternoon)
Mr. Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): To the Minister of Transportation: Caledonia and the surrounding area is experiencing traffic chaos as a result of the land dispute and the road blockades. As you would know, Minister, Caledonia's main thoroughfare, Argyle Street, is blocked. Provincial Highway 6 is blocked. We have some very serious transportation issues, and I limit my question to transportation. It's a very simple question. What are you doing, Minister of Transportation, to ensure the proper routing of traffic around Caledonia?
Hon. Harinder S. Takhar (Minister of Transportation): To the minister responsible for native affairs, please.
Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs): We are very concerned about the disruption of traffic flow into and around Caledonia. So are the OPP because of the curtailment, potentially, of emergency vehicles, police vehicles, when needed. The OPP have been having daily meetings with representatives from the Six Nations about this situation, and it's been going on there. It is also the prime topic of discussion in today's meeting, which has started already, to get the community back to normalcy. Removing the barricades and getting normal traffic flow is the first job of those discussions.
Mr. Barrett: Minister of Transportation, these are questions I'm getting from motorists, from truckers, from e-mails I'm getting. My questions solely focus on issues around signage; traffic routing; narrow back roads; the overloading of bridges; Nanticoke industrial park; there's a problem of access obviously down to Port Dover, Hagersville, Cayuga. Also, with respect, Minister, on signage: Many people don't realize that Caledonia is open for business.
Minister of Transportation, drivers are getting furious. It's a road issue. Why can you not present a comprehensive answer and an approach? At minimum, present a transportation plan to enable those of us in the area to accommodate these problems. It's a road question. I leave it with you. We're asking for a plan, Minister of Transportation.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I would assure --
Mr. Barrett: Wrong minister.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Well, I'm going give you the answer, because this minister has been working with the OPP. MTO has installed temporary messaging signs all around this area, alerting people to what roads are closed at the moment, what routes are open, what are the best traffic flow options for them. I suggest maybe you drive around in your riding there. You would see these signs because they're up there and they're there for the people. We're working with the people, making sure they're informed as to what's the best routing. As I said to you, this is job one for us right now. We want to get the community back to normal operation, because that's what's good for both communities there and that's what we're working on.