A damning memo from Ontario's senior planner paints a stark picture of unsustainable sprawl, congestion and skyrocketing infrastructure costs if the province proceeds with a controversial strategy to urbanize large swaths of Simcoe County north of the Greenbelt.
The warning by Victor Doyle, a key architect of the groundbreaking Greenbelt plan, focuses on the combined impact of lightning-speed growth in Barrie and proposals to create two massive employment zones along pastoral Highway 400 in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil.
"The cumulative effect will be to open up a new linear pattern of urban sprawl along Highway 400 running virtually from the Holland Marsh to north of Barrie," Doyle wrote in the September letter directed at Ontario's Growth Secretariat and obtained by the Star.
What happens in Simcoe may determine whether a bold attempt to curb sprawl in the GTA ultimately succeeds or fails.
It is wishful thinking on the part of anyone if they believe the Ontario government (it doesn't matter who is in power) is serious about containing the seemingly unstoppable urban sprawl spreading out from Toronto into the surrounding region and beyond. It is wishful thinking on the part of anyone if they think the rapid population growth infecting southern Ontario, thanks almost in whole to mass immigration, can be accommodated by "smart growth" planning. It is also naive for anyone to believe that the Toronto Star is actually serious about the environment.
Think about it. More immigrants means more citizens which, fingers crossed, translates into votes for the party in power. More immigrants means more surplus labour to work for low wages and benefits in "employment zones". More immigrants means more demand for the "better life" which means a large two door garage house, an SUV for each port, which means more urban sprawl and frequent shopping trips to outlet malls and shopping centres (that's what Canada means to immigrants anyways), and a carbon footprint that helps make Canada one of the worst offenders in the world. And, more immigrants means more Toronto Star readers that can be sold to advertisers.
More immigrants means more cars on the road, which means more congestion, which means more idling cars, which means more pollution which is the cause of an estimated 10,000 deaths in Ontario. More cars so that they can get to their urban sprawl homes, which was developed on prime farm land, which means leas arable land, which will be needed if and when peak oil hits.
I think you get the picture.
Mass immigration is what is fueling urban sprawl and its associated consequences. Perhaps if Canada's environmentalists spent most of their energy pressuring the government at the provincial and national levels to cut immigration numbers then they might actually accomplish something for once and help preserve Canada's environment. They do have the facts on their side this time and Canada is, after all, bringing in too many immigrants this country needs or the citizens care for. Instead, like chickens with their heads cut off, they run around screaming "they sky is falling" over what is turning out to be a global warming hoax.
Priorities people. Get them straight.