By: Alyssa Parkhill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen
After hearing from the community regarding the GTA West Corridor, the Town of Caledon is hopping on board to gain more understanding on the proposed highway and the impacts it will have on the Town.
During a February 16 meeting, local resident and environmentalist Jennifer Leforestier delegated to Council encouraging lawmakers to reverse their support for the proposed 400-series highway.
Council originally showed their support in 2018 claiming it has been a priority for several years.
“My requests are that Council reverse support and endorsement for Highway 413,” said Leforestier at the session last month, “[and] officially request the Federal government to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the proposed highway.”
Since then, the Town of Caledon has consulted with staff and is calling on the Province to conduct further studies to ensure that the proposed highway is in line with their future projected population numbers.
Caledon is projecting an increase from 75,000 residents to 300,000 by 2051.
“Caledon is set to grow by leaps and bounds over the next few years, regardless of what happens with the GTA West corridor. We need to plan smart so that we have a system for moving people, goods and services in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Mayor Allan Thompson.
Additionally, the Town is also completing Leforestier’s request by asking the federal government to perform an environmental impact assessment on the project.
An environmental assessment is done to support or clarify any planning and decision-making, according the federal government, stating “an environmental assessment is a process to identify, predict and evaluate the potential environmental effects of a proposed project.”
“Ontario needs to build a transportation corridor that allows for the best of current and future efficient technologies to be incorporated into the infrastructure,” continued Thompson.
The Town is also asking for the provincial government to hold public consultations to allow Caledon residents to have their say in the matter.
Fellow Peel municipalities have also voiced their thoughts on the highway but are strongly opposing the highway completely.
Approved at the Mississauga Council meeting on February 24 was a motion that opposes the construction of the highway because of the impacts Highway 413 will have on the farming and agriculture lands, the natural heritage such as the Golden Horseshoe.
“As a Council, we’ve been so dedicated to trying to combat these issues, so we could no longer stand idle. Too many experts and organizations have come out against this planned highway, and today we stand with them,” said Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.
These organizations include, Environmental Defence, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods, Gravel Watch Ontario, Halton Environmental Network, Natural Farmers’ Union-Ontario, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, Sustainable Vaughan, Transport Action Ontario, the Wildness Committee and Sustainable Mississauga.
The Town of Caledon is hopeful for the support from both municipalities Mississauga and Brampton to have the assessment completed.
“Both Brampton and Mississauga have seen what happens when sprawl goes unchecked without the proper infrastructure in place,” said Thompson. “We want to ensure that Caledon’s distinctive natural, agricultural and environmental character is preserved and to do that I urge my colleagues to support a stringent, thorough and comprehensive EA and consultation process.”
For further information, visit Caledon.ca.