National Report, Saturday, July 17, 2004, p. H07
Will do very little to curb sprawl
of Greater Toronto needed a wake-up call and Royson James delivered
broken promise allowed a massive development on the Oak Ridges
Moraine, the Liberals have tried to paint themselves as champions
in the fight against urban sprawl. The new government has bombarded
the public with three main initiatives aimed at curbing unbridled
development in the GTA. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure
Renewal's paper: "Places to grow: Better choices, brighter
future", released Monday, is the newest in this list. The
Planning Act and the Greenbelt Act, Bills 26 and 27 respectively,
are the others. Within this mishmash of policy documents and legislation
are a number of truly positive steps, which have received a great
deal of attention, and others that either do not go far enough
or are simply antithetical to the Liberals' stated goals.
the government introduced Bill 27 establishing a greenbelt study
area to protect environmentally sensitive lands and contain urban
sprawl. The initiative does not go far enough in either respect.
of the greenbelt are the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment,
which already have a significant amount of protection. Indeed,
very little additional greenspace is being conserved as a result
of this bill. Given that these natural barriers are well within
the functioning borders of the GTA, Bill 27 will do very little
to curb sprawl. Areas such as South Simcoe, Kitchener-Waterloo
and Wellington are not currently included within the study area.
felt this omission would unintentionally promote leapfrog development
into areas just outside the GTA. Already, recently announced developments
of unprecedented size in Bond Head and Alliston have shown that
our concerns are warranted.
Act states that there is to be no new development within the study
area, yet Monday's report publicizes the government's intentions
to go ahead with the controversial Highway 407 east extension.
The extension could very well go right through the Oak Ridges
Moraine, destroying wildlife corridors and source water areas
the government claims to protect.
The good news
is that all of this legislation is still pending; none of it is
set in stone. Ultimately, this government will listen to the public
if you make your voices heard.