2003. - The Hamilton Spectator Editorial by Gord McNulty
sprawl: Eves should take note
blueprint from a provincial Smart Growth panel looms as a critical test
of the Eves government's strategies for solving the poor planning exemplified
by gridlock and urban sprawl.
are higher than usual in that the panel's forthcoming recommendations
are likely to coincide with an approaching election. There is nothing
like a campaign to hold the government accountable for its plans --
or absence of same -- to encourage more intelligent development in this
heavily urbanized region and to aggressively promote public transit.
Mayor Rob MacIsaac, a member of the panel for central Ontario, is encouraged
in that the government is anxious to receive its advice. He suggests
the recommendations would represent an effective campaign theme for
the government if it chooses to run with them.
has issued some clear signals of what it thinks Ontario needs to do.
In a recent discussion paper, the panel warned the province "cannot
allow growth to just happen." The results of rampant development are
all too clear -- chronic gridlock, more smog, loss of forests and green
spaces, and a deteriorating quality of life.
ideas for a more sustainable transportation network are ambitious, and
will require significant public spending.
the panel calls for transit to be the first priority in urban areas,
with new investments in inter-regional and local transit designed to
reduce the current reliance on cars as the dominant mode of transportation.
will be a challenge to build the transportation system envisaged by
the panel, the status quo is unacceptable. Research for the panel, projecting
what would happen over the next 25 to 30 years if the current patterns
continue, underlined the point. Commuting to work in the morning rush
hour would take 45 per cent longer than it does now. The carbon dioxide
produced by cars would go up by 42 per cent, even with stronger emission
did not close the door on the controversial mid-peninsula highway. It
suggested that the province invest in highways that facilitate international
trade and contribute to economic success. However, it did not endorse
any particular route.
is critical of the idea of extending the mid-peninsula highway through
north Burlington to connect with Highway 407, adding to an already overloaded
highway network in the immediate area. In one bold idea, the panel has
a preliminary vision for a perimeter option starting at Fort Erie, extending
west of Hamilton to the Cambridge area, then east on a route well to
the north of Toronto.
final report deserves a place on the front burner of two people with
new assignments in the Conservative cabinet: Municipal Affairs Minister
David Young and Transportation Minister Frank Klees.
bring solid credentials to their positions. They have an opportunity
to make a difference as advocates for the enlightened thinking that
is the core of Smart Growth.