Ontario residents hold day of action against Highway 413 and Bradford Bypass

·3 min read
A young girl in Mississauga holds a sign in protest against provincial plans for Highway 413. (Mark Bochsler/CBC  - image credit)
A young girl in Mississauga holds a sign in protest against provincial plans for Highway 413. (Mark Bochsler/CBC - image credit)

Ontario residents demonstrated in Mississauga on Saturday to show their opposition to provincial plans for two new highways that would destroy farmland.

The demonstrators were taking part in a day of action against Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass. People gathered in Mississauga's Celebration Square, held handmade signs and placards, and listened to speakers decry the development planned for Ontario's Greenbelt.

"We are here to speak up for the people of Mississauga and the people of Ontario. We're here to talk about solutions, to say yes to funding transit, to funding health care, to funding education and to say no to the ridiculous concept of a redundant highway, the 413, and to an excessive highway, the Bradford Bypass," Rahul Mehta, an organizer of the rally, told reporters.

"These highways will cut through our protected areas and we have said enough to highways. We are here for solutions and not for past sources of pollution."

Mehta said the demonstrators are not against people driving cars but the solution is to fund public transit.

"Mississauga is a city of highways. We have learned that it is not a solution."

If built, Highway 413 would run from the Highway 401/407 interchange in Halton to Highway 400 in Vaughan, while the Bradford Bypass would run between Highways 400 and 404 through the heart of the Greenbelt's Holland Marsh Wetland in the headwaters of Lake Simcoe.

Speakers said Highway 413 would pave over farms, forests, wetlands and 400 acres of the Greenbelt and cost Ontario taxpayers between $6 billion and 10 billion. They said Highway 413 would also add over 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Bradford Bypass would cost would cost between $1.52 and $2 billion. Speakers 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.

Mark Bochsler/CBC
Mark Bochsler/CBC

Coun. Carolyn Parrish, who represents Ward 5 in Mississauga, said Mississauga is unanimous in its opposition to Highway 413. Parrish attended the demonstration.

"It's extremely important to all of Ontario to protect our climate. Climate change is in the forefront right now. 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," she said.

Parrish said Highway 407 needs a lane for truck traffic and adjustments to the 407 would eliminate any need for Highway 413.

Mississauga has found that pollution is terrible at some of its intersections and these projects would only increase pollution, she said.

She noted that the opposition Liberals and NDP are both opposed to Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass and the key is to ensure that Ontario Premier Doug Ford doesn't win a majority in the next provincial election set for June 2022.

Similar rallies, as part of the day of action, were planned for Bolton, Georgetown, Holland Landing and King City on Saturday.

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