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Utility corridors show promise for new infrastructure

Ontario's Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal is directing a program to decide how to make better use of the ...


Ontario’s Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal is directing a program to decide how to make better use of the province’s 17,000 hectares of hydro corridors. A committee is assembling submissions and proposals from municipalities across the province, and is expected to complete a land-use study in 2006.
Barbara Ko is director of the Transmission Corridor Program for the ministry. “The hydro transmission corridors are perhaps the largest assembly of open space in the Greater Golden Horseshoe,” she says. “This is an opportunity to create something of lasting value and at very little cost to the taxpayer. You have to get excited about that.”
Ownership of the corridors was transferred from the utility Hydro One to the government in 2002. Hydro One keeps the primary right to use the lands for power transmission and distribution, but the provincial government is now looking at secondary uses. One advantage of using such corridors for infrastructure is that they are direct routes and clear of encumbrances.
In 2003, the government started a land-use planning exercise for the corridors to cover the next 30 years. The planning committee has received 37 submissions from municipalities and others for proposals that included roads, water and wastewater pipelines and dedicated busways. There are also proposals for parks, trails and parking lots.