LETTER: Bill 23 will increase emissions, destroy nature
From OrilliaMatters Nov 15, 2022
‘It seems surreal that at a time when most of the world is focused on how to mitigate and adapt to climate change, the government of Ontario is racing on the highway in the opposite direction with the pedal to the metal,’ reader says
It is hard to reconcile that just as the UN chief warned that we are on a “highway to climate hell with our foot still in the accelerator,” the Ontario government is pushing through Bill 23, the Build More Homes Faster Act, legislation that will increase carbon emissions by super-charging development of vehicle-dependent communities while at the same time destroying the very natural features that capture carbon and protect us against climate change.
The act is touted as a way to solve the housing crisis. Few people are against providing people with homes, and this is what the Ford government is counting on. However, even if you believe the astronomical new housing requirement projections that are being used to justify this act (projections that have been disputed by several credible sources), Ontario’s own Housing Affordability Task Force report (2022) states that “a shortage of land isn’t the cause of the problem. The land is available, both inside the existing built-up areas and on undeveloped land outside greenbelts.”
Framing this bill as a way to address the housing crisis is an attempt to distract us from what it is really about – building faster and building on land that should not be developed on – wetlands, woodlands, and farmland – areas important for food and groundwater supply and biodiversity, not to mention recreation and leisure.
“Building faster” will be achieved by taking away the rights of conservation authorities and local communities to participate in land-use decisions, removing protections from land that has been identified as important for conservation, and making it difficult to protect new land. Building faster will also be achieved by reducing costs for developers by downloading development costs onto municipalities and ultimately the taxpayers.
The world is hot enough: record high temperatures, record low rainfall, more intense forest fires, flooding and drought, melting glaciers, and more species being added to endangered lists than the number being removed from it.
Super-charged development outside existing urban boundaries and on environmentally sensitive land will not just increase carbon emissions by increasing dependence on vehicles while releasing carbon stored in the wetlands and trees; it will destroy the natural features that help mitigate the effects of global warming.
It seems surreal that at a time when most of the world is focused on how to mitigate and adapt to climate change, the government of Ontario is racing on the highway in the opposite direction with the pedal to the metal. Tell Mr. Ford to ease up on the gas; we need housing, but no one wants to live in hell.
Read the letter here