'No more highways': Greenbelt groups protest Bradford Bypass outside Caroline Mulroney's office
York-Simcoe MPP met with local council members on same day protest held at her Holland Landing constituency office
Environmental groups and community members staged a peaceful demonstration outside York-Simcoe MPP and Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney's constituency office in Holland Landing on July 24.
Participants voiced their concerns and objection to the proposed Bradford Bypass, a 16-kilometre connecting link between Highways 400 and 404 which will cut through Bradford West Gwillimbury, King Township and East Gwillimbury.
"Bradford Bypass, a really bad idea," chanted attendees from across the Greenbelt region, while waving signs demanding "Stop the Bradford Bypass" and "No More Highways."
Two young children were seen holding up handwritten signs saying "Beavers don't like highways" and "Ducks don't like highways."
"Building highways is a bad use of natural resources. It takes away farmland and adds to pollution," Margaret Prophet, executive director of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, told yorkregion.com.
According to the induced demand phenomenon, highways do not reduce traffic congestion but in fact will only lead to more sprawls, Prophet said.
The demonstration outside Mulroney's office was part of a regionwide day of action against highways, with similar rallies held in King Township, Brampton and Orangeville.
"If built, Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass would pave over farms, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt and cost Ontario taxpayers upwards of $6 to 10 billion," said the organizing group Environmental Defence.
"Highway 413 alone would also add over 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, at a time when cutting emissions is more urgent than ever," said the group.
In what appears to be a response to the rallies, Mulroney orchestrated a brief conversation with council members of Bradford West Gwillimbury and East Gwillimbury, reiterating her support and confidence in the Bradford Bypass.
"The benefits of the Bradford Bypass go beyond the road. As part of this project, we're planning to include world-class trails under our bridges, like the one at Holland River, for local residents and visitors to enjoy," Mulroney said in a statement.
"Environmental stewardship is personally important to me, and I can assure you that strong environmental oversight will be maintained while this project is underway. Signs are now in the ground, construction plans are progressing, the environmental assessment is underway and public consultation has begun."
Mulroney has made frequent efforts to review the concerns brought forward by residents regarding the highway construction, which is set to begin as early as 2022.