To the editor:
In a month, I will give birth to my first child. I have been waiting my whole life to be a mother and already I feel the fierce urge to defend and protect this beautiful being from any harm and dangers.
One of the reasons I’ve moved back to my hometown of North Bay from southern Ontario to raise my child is because of the sheer beauty we are surrounded by. Pristine Lakes and untouched forests teeming with beauty and wildlife; something that is quickly taken for granted down south.
Going unnoticed by most of the province is the proposal by the Ford Government to build a mega highway called the 413 right through the Greenbelt which, if you don’t know, is a permanently protected area of farmland, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, located in southern Ontario. This land is essential to help mitigate the climate crisis and ensure that Ontarians have farmland to produce our own crops. The proposed site of the mega highway is home to 29 federally listed species at risk, cuts across 85 waterways, and will damage 75 wetlands.
See: Ford shows support for controversial Highway 413 with campaign-style route visit
So why would they want to build it, you ask?
Well, as you may know, the 401 can be a nightmare to drive and transport trucks are needing a solution to long, congested deliveries. The 413 was first proposed in 2005 as a solution but quickly thrown out by the Wynne government because the assessment of the plan by experts discovered it would only save commuters 30-60 seconds while having a detrimental effect on the environment. The Ford government has revived the plan despite continued opposition and has now been handed a majority government by 17% of Ontarians to do as he pleases...you see the problem here? Do you see why my motherly urges are acting up?
On a good note, building a destructive mega highway isn’t the only solution! What about the 407? Couldn’t we use that ghost highway, reserve one of the many empty lanes, designate it for transports, and thus solve the transport congestion issue? That’s a great idea and one that is being pushed by experts as the best solution since it uses existing infrastructure and causes no additional environmental damage.
The point is, you need to care about this issue because if it is built, it will cost YOU $10 billion dollars in taxpayer money. That’s $10 billion dollars that could be spent on funding our understaffed hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Lots of money that is not being invested in the north, east, or west of the province. Money that will exacerbate environmental issues like flooding and water pollution.
If we let Ford keep destroying PROTECTED land, where does it stop? We in northern Ontario understand and appreciate what nature gives us, and I want my child to have all the same opportunities and experiences I had. Stop the 413 NOW!
Norma Lucia DeMarco