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LETTER: Next step to protect Greenbelt is cancelling highway projects

Developers have already bought up Greenbelt land along the routes for proposed Highway 413, this time under the guise of reducing traffic, letter writer says
highway freeway stock
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Doug Ford is sorry, and wants to forever protect the Greenbelt?

Then why is he still insisting on the 400 series expansions of redundant highway and using more taxpayer dollars to take the federal government to court to cut corners to build the 413? Minister Guilbeault wants to safeguard the environment and prevent more climate emergencies. Doug doesn’t get it or doesn’t care?

The Supreme Court ruling basically said the federal Impact Assessment Act legislation needed some tweaking to align with the Constitution, but Ford is jumping on it to squeeze in developer lobbying projects without weighing the long-term damage.

If he isn’t cutting corners again then he is again blindly misguided by his ministers. Developers have already bought up land along the routes in the Greenbelt, just like before. This time it is under the guise of reducing traffic.

Like both the proposed Bradford Bypass and 404-Hwy 12 extensions, the 413 highway will destroy forests, wetlands, biodiversity imperil livelihoods of First Nations and farmers. It will incentivize car travel and further sprawl, seriously jeopardizing Canada’s ability to meet its climate targets almost as much as the gas plant proposals, or deliver on its fresh water protection and food security commitments.

Once again, Premier Ford needs us to help him understand. Say NO to:

  • Polluting construction and induced demand that increases vehicles on the road;
  • 17,400,000 tonnes by 2050 of just CO2 emissions, killer nitrogen dioxide fumes, and environmental consequences;
  • Paving over 400 acres of Greenbelt, provincially significant carbon capture wetlands, and 2000 acres of prime farmland - 99 per cent of the 404-12 proposal is Greenbelt.
  • Short and long term impact on freshwater headlands, systems and wells caused by salt run off;
  • Endangering 29+ federally recognized species at risk;
  • The minimum cost: $10 billion (413), $2-4 billion (Bradford Bypass), $2 billion (404 to highway 12) of taxpayer money to benefit select developers along the routes;
  • False claims of ‘travel time saved’; government and independent traffic studies shown this to be grossly inaccurate;
  • Municipalities having to rely on more development to fund more Go and transit stations (Ontario Minister of Infrastructure bill Sept 25, 2023);

Say YES to:

  • Using the $15 billion to $20 billion instead to improving seamless public cross-regional boundary transit;
  • Using the highway labour and equipment for lower-cost housing density construction and sewer improvements in existing neighbourhoods;
  • An investigation into similar inappropriate processes that were used for the lands removed from the Greenbelt for housing development to happen for these highways;
  • The province publishing health, emissions and traffic reports so the public can see how their quality of life and the climate will significantly deteriorate;
  • Implementing UNDRIP federal Bill C-15 Action Plan for prior and free consent from First Nations;
  • And if necessary, buy back the 407 as a no toll highway and widen already viable regional roads to alleviate local traffic congestion.

Above all, the concern should be that if highways can be built through this Greenbelt and we even say the federal government can’t step in, no forest, marshland or field in Canada is safe.

Premier, how about meaning it when you said YES to protecting the Greenbelt?

Readers, feel free to use this letter to send to your local councillor, MPP and MP.

Melanie Duckett-Wilson,