Here's everything Doug Ford's controversial Highway 413 will destroy
Ontario's provincial election is just days away and, if reelected, one of the PC Party's main promises is to build the highly controversial Highway 413.
Environmental advocates, residents and politicians have been sounding the alarm about the many negative consequences of the new highway since it was first announced, and many are growing increasingly worried in light of the fact that Doug Ford's party is currently leading by a wide enough margin to win another majority government.
If anything stands in for the PC campaign, it’s making a critical election about an expensive, useless highway that will set us further behind on our climate goals, bringing us just a little bit closer to oblivion. https://t.co/ajZjhJ01YG— David Moscrop (@David_Moscrop) May 30, 2022
If built, the new highway, also known as the GTA West Corridor, would connect Milton and Vaughan. But according to climate change group Environmental Defence, it would also add over 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, leading to $1.4 billion in damages from pollution at a time when reducing emissions has never been more critical.
It would be 59 km long and pave over 400 acres of the Greenbelt, the group warns, as well as 2,000 acres of Class 1 and Class 2 farmland.
One of the main reasons that Doug Ford’s vanity highway 413 must be stopped. With the damage that highway will wreak on the Holland Marsh we will be forced to pay inflated prices for US produce. https://t.co/jWDw1AbQIP— equipoise1 (@yorked01) May 30, 2022
Highway 413 could also destroy important archaeological sites, as the project passes through land that has long been inhabited by the Huron-Wendat, according to the group, and it would bisect the sensitive headwaters of four watersheds within Mississauga of the Credit First Nation's territory and impact their physical and cultural heritage, including ceremonial sites, burial sites and the cultural landscape.
One Ontarian and self-proclaimed outdoor enthusiast recently visited the Nashville Conservation Reserve near Kleinberg, an area through which the highway would run, and she posted a Twitter thread about all that would be lost if the project were to be realized.
On the weekend I saw this sign for the future Highway 413 on Highway 10 near Brampton. When looking around the area, it’s all farmland and beautiful countryside. I’d heard of the proposed highway, but it didn’t really hit home until seeing exactly where it would be located. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/siZg93P3VU— Katie Babcock (@katebabcock) May 26, 2022
This includes 1,000 hectares of farmland and 75 wetlands "that are critical to the ecological health of our rivers," Katie Babcock wrote.
It would also endanger 29 at-risk species, she added, and over 100 protected species of birds.
The bank swallow, western chorus frog, red-headed woodpecker, eastern ribbonsnake, eastern musk turtle and monarch butterfly are just some of the species that would be impacted.
6/ If you love nature and are concerned about the highway (and climate crisis), please read up about it and the implications for the future. This project is a priority of the Conservatives and will most likely be approved if they win the election on June 2. pic.twitter.com/6ttfTYD2rF— Katie Babcock (@katebabcock) May 26, 2022
And while the negative effects of the potential highway are well-documented, the positives are not. Although Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney has said the highway will reduce pollution by preventing emissions from idling cars, research disproves this claim.
In fact, an expert panel study found Highway 413 would only save drivers in the region roughly 30 to 60 seconds per trip, and research has long shown that building new highways usually does nothing to relieve congestion over time.
Not to mention that the project would cost taxpayers billions, greatly reducing the money available to invest in crucial public transit.
Polling consistently shows that most Ontarians don't want your highways, they will hardly save any time (30 seconds for highway 413!), they will hurt the environment and worsen climate change, and cost billions of $$.— Trish (@trishanmo) May 30, 2022
Yet you persist in shoving them at us. Seems sus...🤔
Three out of four major parties have committed to cancelling the project if elected, but the PC Party has vowed to go ahead with it despite ample evidence that it will do more harm than good.
"All large projects need to evaluate negative impacts versus benefits," reads an Environmental Defence report on the proposed highway.
"A highway of this magnitude will cause significant and irreversible harm to the environment in an area that is already under significant development pressure."
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