January 31, 2022
Hon. Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Queen’s Park, Toronto Ontario M7A 1A1
Hon. Caroline Mulroney, MPP
Minister of Transportation
5th Floor, 777 Bay St.
Toronto, On M7A 1Y7
Dear Premier and Minister:
My name is William (Bill) Knetsch and I live on the busiest and most congested two lane Highway in Ontario. This is Highway 6 South in Morriston Ontario. Over 25,000 vehicles per day have been forced through a reduced two lane roadway through our small village for decades now. It also has the dubious name of “killer Highway.” This is because of the countless deaths of individuals and accidents over the years on this stretch of Highway. Statistics show 47 per cent more collisions than the provincial average. I invite you both to come to Morriston and walk on our sidewalks that are only a few feet away from this Highway. To experience the sheer level of volume, noise, pollution, vibrations, speed and fear caused by cars and huge transport trucks forced to drive through our village. Our residents take their lives in their hands walking the sidewalks and trying to cross the main street.
On March 30, 2016 the Ontario Provincial Government finally announced and promised to start constructing the Morriston Bypass in 2019. The Minister of Transportation the Honorable Steven Del Duca announced to the people of Ontario, “We are targeting construction to start as early as 2019.” The Government of Ontario put the required funding in place realizing the urgency to build this infrastructure project for one of the fastest growing regions in Canada and made it a high priority. https://blog.waterlooedc.ca/waterloo-fastest-growing-communities-canada-2020. Not only for the safety of the people, but also for our growing industries that are forced through Morriston to move their products. It is estimated by 2031 the annual value of commuter and commercial time saved during peak periods with building a Morriston Bypass would be a saving of more than $30 million.
We all expected this highly needed Morriston Bypass infrastructure project to start construction in 2019 as promised and committed to from the Provincial Government. That was until this Provincial Conservative Government came into power. Your government decided to make other projects a priority. Like the highly controversial Bradford Bypass and Highway 413 projects. These projects have serious opposition from environmental and other groups. Meanwhile the Morriston Bypass has been a project ready to go for “shovels in the ground” for many years and has resounding support on many levels.
To refresh your memory about the tremendous support on all levels this project has had for decades. One level is the Morriston Bypass Coalition. This Coalition consists of major cities, townships, counties, major industries, etc, etc. The Coalition sent a letter on May 11, 2020 to you both, Minister of Economic Development and Minister of Finance. All urging this Conservative Government to build the Morriston Bypass ASAP. Stating, “ There should be no reason for further delay in construction of this critical piece of Ontario’s highway infrastructure, particularly in the post- COVID-19 economic circumstances.” See attachment. Another level of support is our and your own Conservative MPP Ted Arnott. He is now one of the longest-serving MPPs in the legislature, with the support from local MPP’s and other political leaders. Who have strongly advocated for decades that the Provincial Government build the Morriston Bypass.
On January 14, 2022 I received a letter from the Ministry of Transportation updating the Morriston Bypass. Stating, “ With respect to funding and schedule, provincial priorities can change over time and this project is currently being funded based on the phased approach.” In other words, we are left with funding based on a phase by phase approach. But wait, these final phases will not start until funding becomes available. The letter tells us we can all hopefully expect an announcement sometime in the future. Once funding is in place for the remaining phases the MTO will complete the whole Morriston Bypass.
These future announcements could be years or even decades away. Before we see any substantial funding from your Conservative Government to complete all the phases for the Morriston Bypass. Please do not write to me that your Government is investing in phase two starting in 2022. As the MTO official wrote in his letter to me on January 14, 2022,” This project ( phase two) does not provide any direct relief to traffic flowing through Morriston.” Only a completed Bypass infrastructure project around the village of Morriston will do that.
People, industries, cities, etc., from our rapidly growing region deserve honest and concrete answers from you and the Ontario Conservative Government.
- Why was the Morriston Bypass infrastructure project downgraded from a “high priority” project for Ontario in 2016 to start construction in 2019, to a “phase to phase” approach project ?
- When will government funding be put in place to complete all “phases” for the highly needed Morriston Bypass infrastructure project for Ontario ?
- What is the schedule and timelines for all “phases” to complete the whole Bypass around the village of Morriston ?
- Why was the Provincial funding that was in place to build the “ high priority ” Morriston Bypass shifted to start construction and complete the highly controversial Bradford Bypass and Highway 413?
I thank you for your time and energy on this urgent matter and respectfully request a response to this letter.
William (Bill) Knetsch