A municipal alliance of west-of-GTA municipalities was given a public unveiling May 9th in Peel Region. Formed in part in response to the cancellation of the Niagara to GTA corridor project, The Western Golden Horseshoe Municipal Network consists of Hamilton, Niagara, Waterloo, Peel and Halton. The group was formed in an attempt to persuade the province and federal government to work more closely with the fast growing area west of Toronto on infrastructure, transportation and economic development. In addition to city and regional managers, the Mayors and Chairs of Hamilton, Waterloo and Niagara were on hand along with regional representatives from Peel. The Network in its charter promises it “will advance common perspectives regarding the need for transportation infrastructure to create a more efficient network for the movement of goods and people.” Hamilton City Manager Chris Murray and Jillian Stephen of the Niagara transportation office made it clear that their regions will continue to press for the Niagara to GTA corridor despite the provinces decision to delay it indefinitely. The conference originally had invited Transportation Minister Glen Murray and Economic Development Minister Eric Hoskins to participate but both declined after the provincial election writ was dropped. Provincial officials who did attend were told that there is a need for senior governments to re-think their approach to transportation infrastructure in the region west of Toronto that will benefit from GO extensions but will also require some road capacity increases to deal with the congestion that is expected as the region grows more rapidly than Toronto. Attendees were reminded that the area encompassed by the five municipalities has significant political clout with more than 22 MPPs and MPs representing the area.

John Best had enjoyed a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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