3. Stop the Sprawl

Challenges: Threats

Highways threaten the environment and encourage sprawl, which increases climate impacts

  • two major highway proposals that were dropped by the former governments – would cut through and impact the protected forests, farmlands and wetlands of the Greenbelt – exempted them from full reviews b4 construction starts
  • Highway 413 – harm 2,000 acres of farmland, cut through 85 waterways, damage 220 wetlands and disrupt the habitats of 10 species-at-risk. – would save drivers less than a minute. – doesn’t resolve traffic problems – attracts new cars – federal government doing assessment now
  • Bradford Bypass – run through the Holland Marsh – sensitive wetlands and fertile soil – 1997 environmental assessment showed it could pollute groundwater, surface water and the air- Stop the Bradford Bypass: https://linktr.ee/stopthebradfordbypass

What do We Need Instead?

Prioritize Gentle Density, Compact Communities, Green Spaces, Lowered Emissions and Arable Farmland over Highways!

  • Highway 413 will not resolve traffic problems. Be honest and take action that truly makes Ontario a better, healthier place to live. i.e. provide better transit options and build communities where work can be close by.
  • respect the 1997 environmental assessment for Bradford Bypass and the need to protect groundwater, surface water and the air. Stop the Bradford Bypass.

Act like it’s an emergency! Amping up the approach….

To address the climate and biodiversity emergencies, complete, compact communities, reducing the need for travel by car, encouraging the move away from fossil fuel use and toward a healthy, just and green future is essential.

Spotlight on Environmental Justice! 

Housing, transit and complete, compact communities instead of highways and sprawl have co-benefits that are in line with climate justice – better air quality, more affordable, accessible public transit including go trains and rapid transit, intact farmland that could increase local food security. See Is Building Highway 413 the Best Option.

Example of a win! 

1. Highway 413 Federal Assessment

What: Proposal for new highways – 413

Threats: Increasing sprawl which endangers arable land, the greenbelt, clean air and pushes climate plans backwards.

What: rallies, bike ride along proposed route, ad in the Star 

Win: a federal assessment called for, for Highway 413


2. Low-density Sprawl Prevented in Hamilton

What: Proposal to increase sprawl in Hamilton.

Who: Stop Sprawl Hamilton, Hamilton350

What: local organizing, with lawn signs, letters to councillors and savvy use of social media

Win: Hamilton City Council voted for a new growth plan with ZERO urban boundary expansion.


3. Halton Region Council Votes Zero Boundary Expansion

Who: Stop Sprawl Halton

What: organizing by Stop Sprawl Halton, 58 delegations to council

Win: zero boundary expansion for at least as long as 2041 motion passed by council! Encompasses Burlington, Halton Hills, Oakville, Milton. Will require developing plans to accommodate population and employment growth.

What Else can We Do?

Join a Group: Stop Sprawl Halton, Stop Sprawl Hamilton, Stop Sprawl Peel, Stop Sprawl Durham, Stop Sprawl Orillia, @Gasp4Change

Learn More and Take Action: A Dozen Gentle Density Ideas

From Environmental Defence:

See if your municipality is going through the Municipal Comprehensive Review process, which the Ontario government is using to get municipalities and regions to approve future low-density sprawl on farmland and green spaces. If you want to stop sprawl in your region check out Stop Sprawl Hamilton’s organizing tips.

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