The first one:
The battle for Simcoe County
Dec 05, 2007 04:30 AM
The government "will take strong action to protect Lake Simcoe's water quality for future generations."
It was just one line in the last week's throne speech at Queen's Park, but it may herald the toughest fight that the newly elected Liberal government will face over the next four years.
The battleground is Simcoe County, a vast area between Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe, north of the Greater Toronto Area and south of Muskoka.
This is more commonly known as "cottage country" and it provides a much needed escape to nature for many southern Ontarians.
As predicted by environmentalists, developers have leapfrogged the Greenbelt on the northern fringes of the GTA and targeted southern Simcoe County as the next frontier for their subdivisions. Pressures are being felt in towns like Alliston, Innisfil, Clearview, and Bradford West Gwillimbury.
The government says it has anticipated this pressure and, under the Places to Grow Act, has imposed a ceiling of 667,000 (up from 420,000 today) on the population of Simcoe County and its two biggest centres, Barrie and Orillia, over the next quarter-century.
The environmentalists say even 667,000 people are too many for Lake Simcoe to sustain, given that the lake is already acutely stressed.
But according to Mark Aitken, Simcoe's chief administrative officer, there are enough development projects in the pipeline to accommodate up to 1.2 million people in the county.
The second one:
Halt new highways, activists demand
Watchdog's position on Greenbelt expansion also bothers sprawl foes
Dec 05, 2007 04:30 AM
Environmental Commissioner Gordon Miller delighted greens yesterday by calling for measures to curb urban sprawl in southern Ontario and protect the boreal forest in the far north.
Note that Gordon Miller was attacked by The Toronto Star in an editorial because he linked the degradation of the quality of life for southern Ontarians to rapid population growth fueled by mass immigration.
But many advocates were disappointed the tough language in Miller's annual report, Reconciling Our Priorities, wasn't backed by strong recommendations in at least two key areas:
The commissioner warned that the province's "car culture" and highway expansions are fuelling congestion, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and sprawl, and said a growth strategy for southern Ontario should "avert any further plans for new highways and/or highway expansion projects."
But he said every expressway already proposed, including several through the Greenbelt, should go ahead. "They are all too far down the pipe to be stopped," Miller told a Queen's Park news conference.
He also rejected expanding the 720,000-hectare Greenbelt into Simcoe County, where developers are assembling large tracts of land for subdivisions as well as business and retail centres, with projected populations far beyond what the growth plan would allow.
Miller's response on highways was disappointing, said Janet May of the Ontario Smart Growth Network. "If the province is truly serious about protecting our rapidly dwindling agricultural lands and green space ... spending scarce public money on highways to sprawl will stop immediately."
"I disagree they're too far along," said Natalie Helferty of Ontario Nature.
"There's still time to stop them if there's political will," said NDP environment critic Peter Tabuns. "Miller makes excellent arguments about sprawl. If you do curb it, you don't need all the highways."
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation said preliminary construction has begun on the northern extension of Highway 404 to Ravenshoe Rd. Some contracts have been awarded.
If you consider yourself an environmentalist and you are reading this then read it well: IT'S MASS IMMIGRATION YOU MORON!!!
Mass immigration is ruining southern Ontario. How do you expect to protect Canada's natural beauty famous the world over without addressing the immigration problem? Who do you think drives cars? Who buys houses? Think you idiot!!! Your cowardice at being silenced by accusations of racism results in the loss of Canada green spaces forever. Get a spine!!!
It seems many on the left, such as Toronto Star journalists, want their cake and eat it too. They want to protect the environment but support increasing mass immigration as though one does not have an effect on the other. You cannot do that. We should be protecting the rights of future generations of Canadians to enjoy Canada's natural beauty. Why should the rights of individuals not born on this soil take precedence over that? When do Canada and Canadians come first?