• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County


In Barrie
Jan 11th, 2022

By Margaret Prophet, Executive Director, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition

Parliamentary Petition Launched in Favor of more Scrutiny for “Holland Marsh Highway”

Aurora – MP Leah Taylor Roy, Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, has sponsored a petition to have the federal government designate the Bradford Bypass for a Federal Impact Assessment.  The petition outlines several concerns about the highway including the known impacts stated in the 1997 Environmental Assessment for the project such as groundwater contamination and loss of significant habitat for species at risk of which there are eleven along the route.  The petition also outlines concerns that haven’t been addressed by past or current studies including climate impacts, impacts to Lake Simcoe, Greenbelt and the destruction of one of Canada’s most significant historical sites, the Lower Landing.

On December 3, 2021 MP Taylor Roy outlined that the highway projects planned by the provincial government including the Bradford Bypass come “…with profoundly negative environmental consequences, such as running through the pristine greenbelt and fertile farmlands, raising emission levels, degrading the water quality in Lake Simcoe and undoubtedly leading to increased development in the green spaces surrounding them.”

Local advocates for Lake Simcoe and the Greenbelt applaud MP Taylor Roy for taking a principled stand, and for supporting the residents and municipalities in the region that are concerned about the project.

Claire Malcolmson, Executive Director of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, says there are too many questions and concerns being raised that the province isn’t addressing.

“Seven municipalities in the surrounding region are asking for more in-depth studies to ensure that Lake Simcoe is protected, including Barrie and Newmarket.  The province is ignoring those concerns and instead is doing all it can to start early construction on the project. It is clear that the province is not standing up for Lake Simcoe. Instead our MPPs are absent, or are champions of the project, and are skillfully misleading the public about their process and the project’s impacts.  This is why the federal government must  stand up for Lake Simcoe. There are lots of federal MPs around the lake that say they are champions for Lake Simcoe.  If that is true, we would like them to support this  petition..”

The petition also raises concerns about the carbon emissions and loss of Greenbelt lands that would result from the Bypass – two other impacts that have not and will not be addressed by the province.

“Canada ranks second in the world for most pavement per person and second for roads per person and yet we still have traffic congestion.  Obviously, building our way out of this is not working. In fact other countries have shown us how to reduce congestion effectively by not building highways and making other community investments instead.  The Holland Marsh Highway, as I like to call it, will ruin a part of our world we will never be able to get back or rehabilitate.  The wetlands will get sick, these habitats will be lost and as a result we will see more flooding, poorer water and air quality and more carbon emissions.  This isn’t doomsday, this is what science is telling us.  48% of people surveyed around the watershed agree that this is a project not worth supporting because the cost is too great without any proven benefits.”

The petition will be open until February 6 where it is hoped to then be presented to the House of Commons.  You can find the petition by visiting here:  https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3766

Says Prophet, “It’s a sad day when people have to fight their government to protect their water, air and health, but that is where we are.  The province has demonstrated that Lake Simcoe and the Greenbelt are not priorities for them and instead are places to raze and pave.  It’s now up to the people who care about those places to not let that stand.”

For media inquiries please contact:  

Margaret Prophet, Executive Director, SCGC
705-718-1383  margaret@simcoecountygreenbelt.ca

Claire Malcolmson, Executive Director, RLSC
647-267-7572  rescuelakesimcoecoalition@gmail.com 

About the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition www.simcoecountygreenbelt.ca:  The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition is a diverse coalition of 40 organizations from across Simcoe County and the province calling on local and provincial leaders to better protect our water resources, green spaces and farmland through smart growth and sustainable policies including expansion of the Greenbelt into Simcoe County.

About: The Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition is a lake-wide member-based organization that provides leadership and inspires people to take action to protect Lake Simcoe. www.rescuelakesimcoe.org

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