Ontario Government Proposes New Highway on top of Farmland
Last week the Ford government released their “preferred route” for a new 400-series highway.
The proposed Highway 413 will carve up the Greenbelt. It runs across prime farmland and across two rivers, multiple times. It will cost billions. It will save commuters about 30-60 seconds in travel time.
You read that right.
Billions of dollars. More cars on roads. Risk to farmland. Risk to rivers. Risk to water. To save one minute. Or less. This seems like a lot of cost without a lot of benefit. It’s out of date and wrongheaded planning.
And guess what? With Bill 197 the government made damaging changes to the Environmental Assessment (EA) process last month.Now they are proposing to fast track the EA for this highway. The fast tracking will allow construction to take place before the EA is finished. In practical terms, it means that they can build bridges BEFORE we understand the impacts on farmland and greenspace.
This just doesn’t make sense.
Yes, we need transportation solutions to get people and goods around efficiently. But this highway is not the answer. Just a few years ago, the previous government scrapped plans for this very same highway. Transportation experts said that there were “few benefits and outlined a disproportionate impact on the environment.” There are better ways to make it easier to get around. The choices we make today about how to reboot our lives will shape how we live for generations to come.
So let’s fund priorities like transit, other lower pollution and electrified solutions. The comment period on the government’s proposal to ‘streamline’ the Environmental Assessment on this project closes on August 22.
Please take a minute to submit a comment and help preserve Ontario’s farmland.