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March 2024 Newsletter

March 2024 Newsletter

Warm Greetings to Everyone, In this early Spring Edition of the CCKT Newsletter you will find: Save Mary Lake Update Informative Video documentary, “Paving Over Paradise” “Our King” Official Plan...

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Newmarket Today - Letter to the editor - May 13, 2024

LETTER: Bradford Bypass announcement about 90% propaganda
'From our perspective, the only Ontarians the province is listening to about the Bradford Bypass are developers,' writes chair of Forbid Roads Over Green Spaces.
Re: Significant project: Bradford Bypass moves step step closer to reality, May 9, 2024.

The province proudly announced that it has awarded a detailed design contract for the western portion of the Bradford Bypass. We find this most surprising since they are still addressing serious archaeological and groundwater issues in the adjacent central segment of this proposed highway.

This announcement is about 90 per cent propaganda and 10 per cent meaningful fact. The only facts that were announced were the $16-million cost to design the western 6.5 kilometre portion of this 16-km highway and the name of the contractor, who not surprisingly, is the same contractor that has worked on this project since 2019.

This is the easy section of the highway from an environmental perspective. The central portion will be significantly more difficult. One has to question why they have only contracted for the easy portion of the highway at this time. What are they not telling us about the rest of this planned highway? Presumably its cost is the most significant factor. We still have no idea of the construction cost for any part of this highway.

It is also purposefully dishonest for our politicians to try to downplay the impacts of this highway by referring to it as a four-lane highway as they did in yesterday’s announcement. We have already been informed that the highway is being planned as an eight-lane structure. This will significantly increase its total cost, environmental and human impact. If this propaganda is what "get it done" means, Ontarians should have no part of it.

The Bradford Bypass is a blatant misuse of scarce government funds. This highway received environmental assessment (EA) approval in 2002 on the explicit basis that the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) would only address solutions within its mandate for serving long-distance travel. “The appropriate municipal government, not the Province, is responsible for intra-municipal transportation.” At that time, MTO’s stated policy was to not mix local with long distance travel.

The Environmental Assessment Act requires proof of both the need for the highway and justification that the proposed solution is warranted. The solution must be the least environmentally intrusive option after all reasonable alternatives have been evaluated.

The 1997 EA study was done for policy reasons to protect a highway corridor for an anticipated future highway. A highway of that magnitude was not needed at that time. Hence, reasonable alternatives, other than four-lane, controlled-access highways, were not considered in the 1997 Study. To satisfy the EA Act, the 2002 EA approval included a condition that required MTO to undertake a Class EA Study prior to building the highway. That study was initiated in 2019.

A Class EA Study specifically requires an update of the need for the highway, the current natural environment and a fresh study of all reasonable alternatives. These alternatives must include, alternative means of satisfying the demand, such as the Barrie Go Transit train, as well as two regional, municipal and private roads and all reasonable combinations thereof. In response to our request for these updated studies, the province issued its Exemption Regulation in October 2021. This regulation confirms the 2002 EA approval but removes the requirement for the Class EA Study.

Connection of Ravenshoe Road to Simcoe Line 13, and Queensville Sideroad to Bradford’s 8th Line via Hochreiter Road and Bathurst Street are such reasonable alternatives. York Region and Simcoe County want the Bradford Bypass so they don’t have to pay for the required bridges over the Holland River. If the province would pay for two regional road class bridges over the Holland River the Bradford Bypass would no longer be required thus freeing up some $3 billion to $3.5 billion.

Absent these reasonable alternative studies, this highway violates the Lake Simcoe Protection Act. Infrastructure such as this is only allowed if there is no reasonable alternative. Also absent is an Impact Assessment of the long-term impact of this highway on Lake Simcoe. Not only is this required by the Act, it has been formally requested by nine local municipal councils to no avail. Currently, the lake is projected to reach critical sodium (road salt) concentrations within 37 years. This timeframe will be dramatically shortened as a result of the salt runoff from the eight-lane Bradford Bypass.

So, we are now at the point where we will be expending some $4 billion or more to build a 16 km, eight-lane highway with seven interchanges to serve local traffic. The government’s current justification for this highway is: “Building the Bradford Bypass is necessary to relieve existing congestion on local east-west local roads and to address the expected long-term travel demand in the area”. Nowhere is long distance travel even mentioned.

Why should all Ontarians pay $4 billion to support unsustainable sprawl development in Bradford and Queensville? This money can be much better spent on health care, education and old age support systems. Premier Doug Ford says he is listening to Ontarians, some 70 per cent of which see the Bradford Bypass as a misuse of government funds. From our perspective, the only Ontarians the province is listening to about the Bradford Bypass are developers. This has all the makings of yet another a “developer friendly” Greenbelt scandal.

Bill Foster
Chair, Forbid Roads Over Green Spaces
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Newmarket Today - Letter to the editor - May 13, 2024

LETTER: Bradford Bypass announcement about 90% propaganda
From our perspective, the only Ontarians the province is listening to about the Bradford Bypass are developers, writes chair of Forbid Roads Over Green Spaces.
Re: Significant project: Bradford Bypass moves step step closer to reality, May 9, 2024.

The province proudly announced that it has awarded a detailed design contract for the western portion of the Bradford Bypass. We find this most surprising since they are still addressing serious archaeological and groundwater issues in the adjacent central segment of this proposed highway.

This announcement is about 90 per cent propaganda and 10 per cent meaningful fact. The only facts that were announced were the $16-million cost to design the western 6.5 kilometre portion of this 16-km highway and the name of the contractor, who not surprisingly, is the same contractor that has worked on this project since 2019.

This is the easy section of the highway from an environmental perspective. The central portion will be significantly more difficult. One has to question why they have only contracted for the easy portion of the highway at this time. What are they not telling us about the rest of this planned highway? Presumably its cost is the most significant factor. We still have no idea of the construction cost for any part of this highway.

It is also purposefully dishonest for our politicians to try to downplay the impacts of this highway by referring to it as a four-lane highway as they did in yesterday’s announcement. We have already been informed that the highway is being planned as an eight-lane structure. This will significantly increase its total cost, environmental and human impact. If this propaganda is what get it done means, Ontarians should have no part of it.

The Bradford Bypass is a blatant misuse of scarce government funds. This highway received environmental assessment (EA) approval in 2002 on the explicit basis that the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) would only address solutions within its mandate for serving long-distance travel. “The appropriate municipal government, not the Province, is responsible for intra-municipal transportation.” At that time, MTO’s stated policy was to not mix local with long distance travel.

The Environmental Assessment Act requires proof of both the need for the highway and justification that the proposed solution is warranted. The solution must be the least environmentally intrusive option after all reasonable alternatives have been evaluated.

The 1997 EA study was done for policy reasons to protect a highway corridor for an anticipated future highway. A highway of that magnitude was not needed at that time. Hence, reasonable alternatives, other than four-lane, controlled-access highways, were not considered in the 1997 Study. To satisfy the EA Act, the 2002 EA approval included a condition that required MTO to undertake a Class EA Study prior to building the highway. That study was initiated in 2019.

A Class EA Study specifically requires an update of the need for the highway, the current natural environment and a fresh study of all reasonable alternatives. These alternatives must include, alternative means of satisfying the demand, such as the Barrie Go Transit train, as well as two regional, municipal and private roads and all reasonable combinations thereof. In response to our request for these updated studies, the province issued its Exemption Regulation in October 2021. This regulation confirms the 2002 EA approval but removes the requirement for the Class EA Study.

Connection of Ravenshoe Road to Simcoe Line 13, and Queensville Sideroad to Bradford’s 8th Line via Hochreiter Road and Bathurst Street are such reasonable alternatives. York Region and Simcoe County want the Bradford Bypass so they don’t have to pay for the required bridges over the Holland River. If the province would pay for two regional road class bridges over the Holland River the Bradford Bypass would no longer be required thus freeing up some $3 billion to $3.5 billion.

Absent these reasonable alternative studies, this highway violates the Lake Simcoe Protection Act. Infrastructure such as this is only allowed if there is no reasonable alternative. Also absent is an Impact Assessment of the long-term impact of this highway on Lake Simcoe. Not only is this required by the Act, it has been formally requested by nine local municipal councils to no avail. Currently, the lake is projected to reach critical sodium (road salt) concentrations within 37 years. This timeframe will be dramatically shortened as a result of the salt runoff from the eight-lane Bradford Bypass.

So, we are now at the point where we will be expending some $4 billion or more to build a 16 km, eight-lane highway with seven interchanges to serve local traffic. The government’s current justification for this highway is: “Building the Bradford Bypass is necessary to relieve existing congestion on local east-west local roads and to address the expected long-term travel demand in the area”. Nowhere is long distance travel even mentioned.

Why should all Ontarians pay $4 billion to support unsustainable sprawl development in Bradford and Queensville? This money can be much better spent on health care, education and old age support systems. Premier Doug Ford says he is listening to Ontarians, some 70 per cent of which see the Bradford Bypass as a misuse of government funds. From our perspective, the only Ontarians the province is listening to about the Bradford Bypass are developers. This has all the makings of yet another a “developer friendly” Greenbelt scandal.

Bill Foster
Chair, Forbid Roads Over Green Spaces

Newmarket Today - May 12, 2024
LETTER: Greenbelt, agricultural land 'under threat more than it ever was'.
'What happened to Premier Doug Ford’s vow not to touch the Greenbelt? Looks like he needs another reminder of what most Ontarians value,' says letter writer

Just when we thought the beloved Greenbelt was safe after the developer debacle last year, the government is providing back door entry, in the Niagara Escarpment for starters, yet everywhere is at risk with the current pending wave of legislation.

What adds salt to the wound is that affordable housing is not even being addressed, just more urban sprawl, fossil gas emissions from pipelines that will be redundant in five years, and less food and clean air to breathe for our children. It’s like the government got their hands slapped but is determined to find another way in.

In a barrage of bills and EROs that seem designed to overwhelm and distract, and with the guise of housing and economic development, the Greenbelt and our agricultural land is under threat more than it ever was. Proposed amendments to development permit exemptions through ERO 019-8364 in conjunction with proposed Bills 185, 165, 162, ERO 019-8562, and ERO 019-8462 the Provincial Planning Statement, in effect give developers, Enbridge, and the government pretty close to carte blanche over agricultural land and green spaces to take and use as they see fit.

Emissions in Ontario are going the wrong way, and it looks like ‘affordable housing’ is too. Any effective components of BIll 185 are nullified by the other content that allows developers to pick and choose and if municipalities reject a permit, this government is even tying the hands of the Land Tribunal.

The authority of governing bodies like the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Ontario Energy Board, Conservation Authorities, the Greenbelt Council, and municipalities continue to be eroded in the process.

What happened to Premier Doug Ford’s vow not to touch the Greenbelt? Looks like he needs another reminder of what most Ontarians value.

Melanie Duckett-Wilson
Newmarket
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Newmarket Today - May 12, 2024
LETTER: Greenbelt, agricultural land under threat more than it ever was.
What happened to Premier Doug Ford’s vow not to touch the Greenbelt? Looks like he needs another reminder of what most Ontarians value, says letter writer

Just when we thought the beloved Greenbelt was safe after the developer debacle last year, the government is providing back door entry, in the Niagara Escarpment for starters, yet everywhere is at risk with the current pending wave of legislation.

What adds salt to the wound is that affordable housing is not even being addressed, just more urban sprawl, fossil gas emissions from pipelines that will be redundant in five years, and less food and clean air to breathe for our children. It’s like the government got their hands slapped but is determined to find another way in.

In a barrage of bills and EROs that seem designed to overwhelm and distract, and with the guise of housing and economic development, the Greenbelt and our agricultural land is under threat more than it ever was. Proposed amendments to development permit exemptions through ERO 019-8364 in conjunction with proposed Bills 185, 165, 162, ERO 019-8562, and ERO 019-8462 the Provincial Planning Statement, in effect give developers, Enbridge, and the government pretty close to carte blanche over agricultural land and green spaces to take and use as they see fit.

Emissions in Ontario are going the wrong way, and it looks like ‘affordable housing’ is too. Any effective components of BIll 185 are nullified by the other content that allows developers to pick and choose and if municipalities reject a permit, this government is even tying the hands of the Land Tribunal.

The authority of governing bodies like the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Ontario Energy Board, Conservation Authorities, the Greenbelt Council, and municipalities continue to be eroded in the process.

What happened to Premier Doug Ford’s vow not to touch the Greenbelt? Looks like he needs another reminder of what most Ontarians value.

Melanie Duckett-Wilson
Newmarket

NewmarketToday - May 11, 2024

LETTER: Bradford Bypass costly boondoogle, vanity project
Local environmental groups respond to the province's awarding of a contract to progress design of a portion of bypass.
Re: Significant project: Bradford Bypass moves step closer to reality, May 9, 2024

This highway is the poster child for Ontario’s lack of commitment to climate and environmental protection. Ontario has gutted environmental assessment and species protection laws and exempted this highway from key requirements.

The cumulative effects of this highway on the natural environment and human health from air and water contamination and habitat loss are potentially irreversible and serious.

Ontario continues to proceed in a piecemeal fashion to build portions of this highway at great public expense to be seen to be making progress, while ignoring the major engineering and environmental challenges it faces on the eastern portion. The result will be a costly boondoggle that diverts key resources from efficient, expedient, climate-friendly and cost-effective solutions to our transportation problems.

Laura Bowman
Staff lawyer, Ecojustice

At a time when people are struggling to put food on the table, pay their increasing rents or mortgages and access healthcare, this government is choosing to spend $4 billion on a project that less than one per cent of Ontarians will use on a regular basis.

This project is almost a decade away from use. In that time, traffic congestion will worsen, costs for this project will skyrocket and the money that could have been invested into health care, education, social supports will be lost to a vanity project of mass proportion.

Margaret Prophet
Executive director, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition

Studies without strong regulation and action do not protect the environment. Earlier this year, the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition detailed concerns about this highway’s impacts to fish and fish habitats, the salt pollution’s effect on Lake Simcoe, cumulative water-taking and de-watering issues.

It is clear from the piece-mealing evidenced in this project that Ontario has no interest in taking care of any of these issues. They have not only failed to address these concerns but they have also watered down all regulations that protected these features. Our environment is simply not being protected by this government.

Claire Malcolmson
Executive director, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition
... See MoreSee Less

NewmarketToday - May 11, 2024

LETTER: Bradford Bypass costly boondoogle, vanity project
Local environmental groups respond to the provinces awarding of a contract to progress design of a portion of bypass.
Re: Significant project: Bradford Bypass moves step closer to reality, May 9, 2024

This highway is the poster child for Ontario’s lack of commitment to climate and environmental protection. Ontario has gutted environmental assessment and species protection laws and exempted this highway from key requirements.

The cumulative effects of this highway on the natural environment and human health from air and water contamination and habitat loss are potentially irreversible and serious. 

Ontario continues to proceed in a piecemeal fashion to build portions of this highway at great public expense to be seen to be making progress, while ignoring the major engineering and environmental challenges it faces on the eastern portion. The result will be a costly boondoggle that diverts key resources from efficient, expedient, climate-friendly and cost-effective solutions to our transportation problems.

Laura Bowman
Staff lawyer, Ecojustice

At a time when people are struggling to put food on the table, pay their increasing rents or mortgages and access healthcare, this government is choosing to spend $4 billion on a project that less than one per cent of Ontarians will use on a regular basis.

This project is almost a decade away from use. In that time, traffic congestion will worsen, costs for this project will skyrocket and the money that could have been invested into health care, education, social supports will be lost to a vanity project of mass proportion.

Margaret Prophet
Executive director, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition

Studies without strong regulation and action do not protect the environment. Earlier this year, the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition detailed concerns about this highway’s impacts to fish and fish habitats, the salt pollution’s effect on Lake Simcoe, cumulative water-taking and de-watering issues.

It is clear from the piece-mealing evidenced in this project that Ontario has no interest in taking care of any of these issues. They have not only failed to address these concerns but they have also watered down all regulations that protected these features. Our environment is simply not being protected by this government.

Claire Malcolmson
Executive director, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition

We're excited to share that we are hiring two Summer Students for the positions of Outreach and Education Coordinators.

Join our team this summer as we visit festivals, fairs, and markets throughout the Lake Simcoe watershed region to spread the word about watershed dynamics, climate change mitigation and adaptation at Lake Simcoe, climate change personal actions and transition to a low carbon economy, and the impacts of land uses on water quality.

Must be 15 - 30 Years old and legally able to work in Canada
Apply by May 28th, 2024

See rescuelakesimcoe.org/work-with-us/ for more details #hiring #hiringontario #lakesimoce #yorkregion #simcoecounty #hiringnow #youthjobs #youthleadership #climatejobs
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