Tired of being in the shadow of Canada’s largest city on important issues like transit and transportation, leaders in Peel Region yesterday said it’s time to have a blunt discussion about the future of cities and towns west of Toronto.
“By coming together, and addressing numerous issues together, we would ensure that we have a voice within the important discussions that are taking place in the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario today,” said Brian Crombie, co-chair of the inaugural Western GTA Summit slated for May 21 in Mississauga. “We want to engage the residents of the western GTA in what some people have said is the most important decision that faces us in this generation.”
Crombie kicked off a media launch held at regional headquarters in Brampton for the upcoming event that will bring together residents, political, business and community leaders to discuss major challenges facing the approximately 1.4 million people living in the western half of the GTA.
Crombie gave introductory remarks before making way for the mayors of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.
Mayors from four municipalities — Hazel McCallion, Susan Fennell, Marolyn Morrison and Oakville’s Rob Burton — are honourary co-chairs of the event held at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
Burton did not make the media launch.
Each mayor took a turn addressing the impact of growth on the GTA and how important it is for municipalities to work together on managing that growth.
McCallion said politicians for years have been discussing the need to move on transit and transportation initiatives that address gridlock with little success. She said it’s time for action.
“I fear that we will face economic gridlock if we do not address the significant challenges associated with improving our public transit and transportation networks.”
A major focus of the summit will be traffic gridlock and will take place a few days before Metrolinx unveils a short list of possible funding options for its multi-billion dollar “Big Move” transportation initiative.
McCallion said communities must look at the bigger picture when it comes to managing growth in this region.
“Folks, it’s time for action,” McCallion said. “You can criticize any plan but the citizens out there want to see something happen.”
Mayor Fennell said she is pleased that Brampton and other municipalities have been invited to take part in summit discussions.
She called the event “an opportunity for local leaders to develop solutions to help create jobs, strengthen the economy, break gridlock and make Brampton, and the entire GTA, an even better place to start a business, raise a family and achieve success.” The Mississauga Summit will be centred around three pillars — live, move and thrive.
Crombie explained the Western GTA Summit will build on each of these and how they apply to their respective municipalities while trying to answer the central question: Are we facing economic gridlock?
More details can be found at www.westerngtasummit.ca.