Several Golden Horseshoe municipalities are bucking Ontario's ambitious sprawl-busting plan by submitting local plans that contradict its goals, says a report by the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance.
Others have slowed the process by missing a crucial deadline.
The report warns that if the government doesn't stand up to these local challenges, its internationally lauded Places to Grow plan could be derailed – leading to unchecked development, worse congestion, and a deteriorating quality of life.
The report, cheekily titled Places to Sprawl, says some big regions, such as York and Peel, missed a June deadline to finalize plans conforming to provincial guidelines. Meanwhile, councils in Durham, Niagara and Simcoe County have passed plans headed for conflict on the crucial question of how much land needs to be urbanized.
Farm land or mass immigration. Pick one because you can't have both. Canada may be a vast and largely underpopulated region (so is Africa) but only 5% to 10% of its land is arable and much it is located in southern Ontario in and around Toronto. This also happens to be where over 100,000 immigrants settle each year contributing to the provinces urban sprawl problems.
Some propose that we should tell immigrants where to settle but this is an infringement on their human right to freedom of movement. Besides, where are we going to tell them to go? Nunavut?
Other proposals are "smart growth" options that look good on paper but are unworkable in the real world because it demands that people conform to them irrespective of their free will. These proposals invariably mean maximizing existing high density areas which put crudely means staking more people on top of more people. You make this work by denying individuals choice by restricting their options to living in "maximized" (cramped) living spaces or the street. This might work for singles or one child or childless couples but for those who want a family this is simply not going to happen. Besides, for a country with a low fertility rate such as Canada's is this something to be desired, the discouragement of having children by forcing people into cramped living conditions?
I am not opposed to population growth but I am opposed to rapid population growth of the kind that southern Ontario has been subjected to. The provincial government's effort to protect valuable farm land and much cherished green spaces have been made all for naught by developers and municipal politicians, both part of the mass immigration lobby. It was all mere photo-op to appear to be doing something when in effect they are powerless to protect it against the yearly influx of over 100,000 immigrants into the region. Who do you think developers are building houses for? On what data do they base their projections on?
It's mass immigration stupid! If you want to curb urban sprawl then we have no choice but to talk about it. So far Canada's environmentalists have been useless in this regard. Aside from the obligatory finger wagging and fist pounding at the usual suspects the fuel to the motor keeps on flowing and the car keeps on running.
Besides, Canada accepts too many immigrants anyways and Canada will not be worse off if we accepted less. A lot less!