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Opposing Highway 7&8

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Opposing the Bypass

Hello, friends of the New Hamburg Board of Trade.

You have probably seen the news coverage of an issue currently facing the community of New Hamburg ­ the proposal from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation that could result in the construction of a Highway 7&8 bypass that would carry traffic well away from New Hamburg. This is one likely conclusion of a current study of the 'Highway 7&8 Transportation Corridor' from New Hamburg through Stratford.

At the July executive meeting of the New Hamburg Board of Trade, a motion was passed unanimously, strongly opposing the creation of a bypass, while pointing out that the existing four-lane highway completely meets the needs of traffic, while still providing excellent access and exposure to the community of New Hamburg.

The Board of Trade has taken other action in this issue, as well.

1) A petition is being circulated by the Board of Trade executive, seeking signatures of New Hamburg business people, opposing the creation of any bypass. You can sign this petition at the New Hamburg Board of Trade Tourist Information Centre.

2) Several members of the Board of Trade, including myself, met with our MPP, Leeanna Pendergast, who has taken up the issue, and offered to present the petition to the Provincial Minister of Transportation.

3) As President of the Board of Trade, I -- with several other members of the Board -- was invited to meet and discuss this issue with Progressive Conservation leader John Tory when he was in New Hamburg; he, too, has expressed support for our position that no new bypass is needed.

4) Area farmers are also organizing to oppose the bypass, and are circulating copies of our petition.

5) I am communicating the Board of Trade's position to the MOT and consultants involved in the project.

All of this being said, we are assured that the most effective method of preventing the diversion of traffic away from New Hamburg, with its attendant loss of business and exposure of our community, is for everyone to communicate individually with the decision makers. From information shared from the MOT to Ms. Pendergast, it seems clear the bureaucrats have not yet grasped that there is strong local opposition to their proposals.

I therefore strongly recommend that each of you send an email to the addresses noted below. Our arguments against the bypass include:

1) It will result in a loss of exposure to New Hamburg. Historically, communities that were taken off a main thoroughfare suffer significant loss of business. With the current configuration, no one has to drive through the main street, but the current road systems still provide immediate access to the businesses of our community.

2) New Hamburg is home to close to 400 individual businesses, many of which would be negatively impacted by a bypass.

3) The cost of such a project is very large; this is a profligate use of taxpayers' money.

4) The current four-lane highway more than adequately serves the needs of the community and of vehicles using the highway. Traffic backups or long waits are unknown.

5) Business people join with the local farmers in opposing the loss of agricultural land that a bypass would inevitably cause.

Please let the MOT, their consultants, and our provincial representative known where you stand on this issue. It is imperative that these responses take place immediately; send your email today!

Send your comments to the Ministry representative, the consultants (Totten Sims Hubicki Associates), and our MPP, through her assistant, Peter McGough. Feel free to copy them to me, so the Board has a record of your responses.

Here are the appropriate email addresses:

Ministry of Transportation: Charles Organ (Chuck.organ@ontario.ca). Consultants: Brenda Jamieson (bjamieson@tsh.ca) and Karin Wall (kwall@tsh.ca). For our MPP, Leeanna Pendergast, email Peter McGough (pmcgough@liberal.ola.org). My email: pknowles@golden.net.

For more information about the entire sinister project, visit www.7and8corridorstudy.ca.

This is a vitally important issue -- please take five or ten minutes to make a difference.

Paul Knowles,
President, New Hamburg Board of Trade