Our Premier, Doug Ford, has a preconceived idea that the proposed Highway 413 is necessary. With proper planning and use of current highways, this is incorrect. Doug Ford has no concept of the climate emergency and the damage that such a project will create in the surrounding area where this highway is proposed to be built.
First and foremost, it will destroy a huge area of green space—surely this is the wrong approach in a time of climate crisis. The destruction of this land will be extremely detrimental to what Canada should stand for as an example to the world—a beautiful country with vast natural space and important farmland which must be preserved. There are signs on the 401 highway which show where the 413 highway will intersect with the 401—how can this be done when the 413 has to be approved by the Federal Government and various other channels?
There is an excellent highway that currently exists, the 407, which is unfortunately underutilized. My proposal is to have all large trucks travel on the 407. In order for this to be possible, the government would need to either buy back the highway or negotiate a special rate for trucks to use the 407, which currently has tolls. Which is better? Travelling from point A to point B at a slow speed—stopping and starting constantly, spewing out toxic diesel fumes, wasting precious time—or travelling from point A to point B at a steady speed with no stops and thus less fumes and better time savings, and therefore money savings, as time is money. This is a “no-brainer.” If this were made possible, there would be far fewer traffic jams on highway 401, which sometimes feels more like a parking lot, and everyone would save time and enjoy a less stressful drive.
This suggestion has been discussed at our local council meetings and I am sure in other municipalities as well. In fact, I have written to various politicians, including our Premier!
There have been and will be more rallies as well as meetings with the Provincial Government. Let us hope and pray that “greening” is the way to go. It may interest you as well to note that the US and Canada have the largest personal vehicles in the world—we are addicted to a giant vehicle called the pickup truck!
Chris Miller is a member of Climate Justice Niagara Committee, and a parishioner at St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church, Acton.