Protestors join Day of Action to say no to Highway 413 and Bradford Bypass

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Groups fighting the Ford government’s plan to build the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413 gathered Saturday at York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney’s Holland Landing constituency office.

Residents also demonstrated in Mississauga in a day of action against Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass. Rallies were also held in Bolton, Georgetown and King City.

Highway 413 to create 8,000 jobs annually, generate $2.3 billion in earnings: RCCAO

Premier Doug Ford doubled down last week on the government’s support for both projects and full funding for the Bradford Bypass.

In Mississauga on Saturday, speakers said Highway 413 would add over 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, paving would over farms, forests, wetlands and 400 acres of the Greenbelt at a cost of $6 billion to 10 billion.

Speakers in Bradford said the highway would pave over the habitat of several endangered species, increase greenhouse gas emissions, add more salt pollution to Lake Simcoe and contaminate private wells of homes along the route.

Last week, Ford announced the province would fully fund the cost to construct the 16-kilometre, four-lane Bradford Bypass that is to connect Highway 400 with Highway 404. The premier justified the need for the bypass, saying the area will experience rapid growth over the next 10 to 20 years, and investing in this new route will help ease congestion.

Two days later, the premier announced the proposed Highway 413, a route he said is necessary to relieve traffic congestion in the regions of Peel, Halton, and York, will also go ahead.

While Bradford council supports the highway plan, Mississauga is unanimously opposed to Highway 413.

“It’s extremely important to all of Ontario to protect our climate. Climate change is in the forefront right now,” Councillor Carolyn Parrish said at the protest. “Throwing a concrete highway across the top of our region is the worst thing we can do. They attract cars and it will also attract the developers to put in more single family homes spreading all over the place. It’s just a bad idea.”

The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition says the new route is anticipated to negatively impact high quality woodlands, the Holland Marsh, Provincially Significant Wetlands, and significant wildlife habitat.

Also, the group is opposed to infrastructure that enables an increase in single vehicle car use.

“At a time when we are facing a climate emergency, when it is becoming increasingly clear that our inability to address it is leading us towards a worst case scenario, continuing to base our communities around a reliance on cars as the primary mode of transportation is extremely irresponsible,” coalition members say.

Instead, all major infrastructure projects – all publicly funded projects – should require a full climate change assessment.

“It could not be more clear that the public interest is directly tied to addressing the impacts of climate change, and accordingly no public money should be spent that exacerbates the crisis. This project profoundly misses that mark.”

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