Controversy Swirls Around This Bridge Project in Brampton
In the midst of the controversy surrounding Brampton East MP Raj Grewal, one story that has stood out concerns a major infrastructure project between Mississauga and Brampton.
The Goreway Bridge construction project is something that has been in the works for about a decade. Goreway Drive is the four-lane major collector roadway that has a crossing with the CNR at the boundary between the two cities.
The location where the Goreway Bridge is expected to be completed sees approximately 15,000 vehicles a day, all of which are being stopped by 50 trains per day that use three sets of tracks.Grewal himself touted the approval of funding for construction back in May of this year.
The Goreway Bridge has finally been approved and construction begins this fall! I personally made this promise in the 2015 campaign and with the help and hard work from the city, we are delivering on it this fall. This is a big win for my riding of Brampton East. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/3CaHPRMgyC— Raj Grewal (@RajLiberal) May 30, 2018
However, allegations have been raised that Grewal, as well as Mississauga MP Navdeep Bains (who is also the federal government’s Economic Development Minister), received confidential information from former Brampton mayor Linda Jeffrey’s chief of staff that was then leaked, which led to the land increasing in value by about $1 million.
Minister Navdeep Bains. Photo courtesy of Twitter / @csa_asc
According to this National Post report, the information received by Bains and Grewal included the price the city had offered the Ontario government for the piece of land, about $3.3 million. After talks between the municipality and province broke down, a local company called Goreway Heaven Inc. bought the property for a similar amount and later sold it to the city for $4.4 million.
Grewal, who initially said he would step down as MP in his prepared statement to ‘seek treatment’ for his gambling addiction but later said he would only leave the Liberal caucus for the time being, addressed the matter of the Goreway Bridge controversy, saying he had not leaked confidential information from the city report.
“Throughout my term as an MP, I have routinely requested updates on the status of the project from the Mayor’s office. The sole purpose of my inquiries was to ensure that I could provide an update to my constituents on the status of the project. As part of the routine update request, myself and other recipients received an email containing an unsolicited confidential report from the Mayor of Brampton’s Chief of Staff on November 21, 2017. I did nothing further with this report and to suggest that I leaked confidential information is categorically false,” Grewal said.
Jaswinder Bhatti, one of the directors of Goreway Heaven, issued this statement on Facebook in response to the Post’s story.
“We categorically deny that the land we acquired was based on information disclosed by any politician of any stripe or any level of government, including without limitation Minister Bains or Raj Grewal,” the statement reads.
The statement also denies any use of connections with the Liberals to obtain the land parcel or any of those connections to sell that land. Bhatti also demanded that the Post and another Brampton publication retract the articles they wrote making those allegations.
Bains also issued a statement on Facebook that any allegation of wrongdoing on his part is false and baseless.
“As a federal Cabinet minister, I handle sensitive information on a daily basis. I always treat such information with the utmost care and in accordance with the highest ethical standards,” Bains said, adding that he is not under investigation when asked by Conservative MPs during Question Period.
Construction for the project will begin in the spring of 2019. Will these controversies get sorted out when that time comes?
UPDATE: This story was updated to include Bains’ statement; he has also advised inbrampton.com that he will be filing a notice of libel at the National Post.
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