Oakvillegreen and its supporters adamantly oppose the proposed Highway 413.

Posted on Updated on

Oakvillegreen Conservation Association (Oakvillegreen) and its supporters adamantly oppose the proposed Highway 413 (or GTA West Highway)

Numerous environmental organizations and coalitions are uniting to oppose this unnecessary, destructive highway.

 

“The proposed route for Highway 413 would angle northeast through Halton and Caledon to Highway 400, paving over thousands of acres of prime farmland and “protected” Greenbelt. It has been firmly rejected as unnecessary and environmentally destructive by Halton Hills Council, Halton Regional Council, Toronto City Council and Vaughan and Mississauga Councils.” ~ GASP (Grandmothers and Others Acting to Save the Planet)

 

“Ontario is planning to build the GTA West Highway, a redundant and unnecessary highway that would pave over farms, forests and watersheds, cutting a destructive path through Milton, Georgetown, Caledon, Brampton and Vaughan. It will cost taxpayers billions. And it’s only 15 kilometres away from Highway 407, an existing underused east-west toll highway. In a time when Municipalities are declaring climate emergencies across Ontario, building this highway, which will increase the number of vehicles on the road, goes against efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and causes significant loss of agricultural lands and impacts to the natural environment.”  ~Environmental Defence environmentaldefence.ca

 

Oakvillegreen is an environmental organization which actively engages residents in issues within Oakville, the region, the Greater Toronto Area and the Province.  We value protection of forests, meadows, wetlands and waterways to preserve connected, healthy, natural ecosystems that are inhabited by Carolinian flora and fauna.

 

We actively involve residents of all ages, in appreciation of our area’s natural assets. Annually, hundreds participate in treeplanting and habitat restoration projects that we co-ordinate with our municipality and Conservation Halton. We work alongside countless community partners to act to protect and restore biodiversity. 

 

We adamantly oppose the proposal by Ontario’s current government to build a destructive mega highway through the Greenbelt for the following reasons:

  • The environmental loss to forests, farmland, waterways and delicate ecosystems is immeasurable. The proposed route will go through dozens of major waterways and riparian habitat, notably the Credit and Humber Rivers, which flow to Lake Ontario, the source of drinking water to millions. Excessive use of road salt is damaging to aquatic life and will be another blow to struggling populations.

  • The Province has said that they will protect the Greenbelt. This highway plan would NOT protect the Greenbelt and would sever and damage the connectivity of the Greenbelt, valued for its contributions ecologically and economically.

  • The multi-billion dollar cost to taxpayers will be exorbitant. It has been shown that building this mega highway, will only save commuters seconds in their commute. Much has been written about induced demand and the fact that building highways, an out-dated plan from the last century, will only encourage more cars, and will NOT reduce gridlock.

  • Please ensure that Ontario is using current best practices for moving “people & goods”. Successful models of sustainable, environmentally-friendly options exist in numerous other cities and countries. Learn from them.

  • We expect that the Province and other levels of government should collaborate to provide more efficient public transit that will get people moving, and allow for more efficient transportation of goods.  We absolutely MUST reframe how we get around our communities, and ensure a less car-centric model.

  • Ontario’s population will be growing, but we must STOP the narrative that “we need more highways because there will be more people.” If anything, understanding that our population will grow, is an incentive to get people moving in a much more efficient and equitable way.

  • Many municipalities have declared a Climate Emergency, and are acknowledging the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis that are dramatically impacting our health and day to day lives. Building yet another mega highway, is contrary to this commitment.  Transportation contributes the largest percentage of carbon pollution to our air-sheds. We must demonstrate this commitment by getting out of our cars in order to stop the accumulation of damaging CO2. Even with increased availability of electric vehicles, we still must plan for reliable public transit, to ensure social equity, so that not only “rich people” can commute to jobs.

  • Ploughing a highway through prime farmland, will create greater food insecurity. Covid has shown that our large and growing population relies on LOCALLY grown food. Don’t pave over the most productive farmland in Ontario. Farmers feed us.

  • Another swath of highway will create yet another “great divide.”  Death by a thousand cuts. It promotes more urban sprawl, which we have seen simply doesn’t create sustainable, complete communities.  “As people travel farther to get from home to work and other destinations, they pollute more. It’s exactly the opposite of what is needed to develop walkable, transit-friendly communities. But when people live closer to where they work, they pollute much less, or not at all if they can walk or cycle.” ~Environmental Defence 

  • We expect our Provincial government to act in the best interests of its constituents and listen to public input. Many Provincial transactions lately, have been lacking in transparency. Changes in provincial laws are being constantly fabricated to exclude public and scientific comment or appeal and appear to favour wealthy corporations at the expense of the environment. We must ask ourselves, who stands to benefit the most by pushing through this highway?

  • We can have a healthy economy AND healthy environment. One does not exclude the other.

In the spirit of protecting clean water, farmland, biodiversity, a safe climate and healthy communities, our organization and its supporters want to STOP the GTA West Highway.

 

On behalf of the Oakvillegreen Board of Directors

Karen Brock

President, Oakvillegreen