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Green Party candidates lead local ‘Stop the 413’ protest

July 29, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

For the “No More Highways” Day of Action this past Saturday (July 24), supporters of “Stop the 413” gathered outside of Dufferin–Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones Office on Broadway and marched down to the weekly Farmers Market held by the Orangeville BIA.

The protest was led by federal Green Party candidate for Dufferin–Caledon Jenni Le Forestier, who was instrumental in bringing about the federal environmental assessment that’s currently ongoing for the 413, as well as Laura Campbell, who’s the provincial Green Party Candidate for the local riding.

A total of eight demonstrations took place across communities impacted by the proposed highway, including Brampton, Bolton, Holland Landing, King Township, Kleinberg, Mississauga, and Oakville.

In all, about 30 people showed up to the Orangeville protest to voice their opposition to Highway 413 (GTA West Corridor), sharing concerns about the route paving over farmland, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt.

“I’m just here to show support for all of the citizens groups, which I’m a part of, that are opposing this highway project because we cannot afford any more carbon emissions; we cannot afford any more destroyed farmland,” said Campbell, at the Orangeville protest on July 24. “We are going to be seeing a food crisis through droughts, so we need all of this fertile farmland to stay intact and to stay productive.

“Sprawl is not the way forward, we need to create jobs in sustainable industries, we need to build within existing urban boundaries.”

Campbell said the estimated $10 billion price tag to build the highway should be spent in other ways, such as funding electrified transit, improving long term care, childcare, and building affordable housing.

In addition to paving over the Greenbelt, wetlands, 2000 acres of farmlands and conservation areas, Highway 413, would also approximately 85 river and stream crossings.

Le Forestier, who’s running under the Dufferin–Caledon Green Party in the next federal election, has been working to stop the development of Highway 413 for more than 10 years. The highway was originally proposed in 2003 but was cancelled in February of 2018, before being revived just eight months later, after the Ford government came into power.

“I was really delighted when it got canceled and completely shocked that it was revived again – we call it the zombie highway,” said Le Forestier.

She shared that one of her primary concerns with the highway is the extraction of aggregate resources needed to build it, which is now occurring below the water table, following a change to regulations by the Ford government last year.

The aggregate used to build the highway from Vaughn to Halton Region will be sourced out of Caledon, as it has the closest pits and quarries. Le Forestier said the region’s already seeing lots of applications for pit expansions and noted that the Highway 413 project is driving it.

“Making the connection between aggregates and quarrying and building highways, it’s not a surprise that myself and lots of residents are really concerned,” said Le Forestier. “We have wells, we are on private wells, and the more you quarry and extract the more the impact.”

Meanwhile, Campbell said she’s encouraging Dufferin–Caledon residents to voice their concerns about Highway 413 to their elected representatives by writing letters, signing petitions, and attending or organizing demonstrations.

“Those are the kind of things that you would do in a grassroots movement to make sure that stuff doesn’t go forward that is frankly going to destroy the planet for our children,” she said.

To sign a petition regarding Highway 413 and learn more about the project visit: https://www.413community.ca/petition.



         

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