Not a matter of tradeoffs
RE: 'Mid-pen is about competitive access' (June 4)

Hamilton Spectator Letters to the Editor, June 5,2003

Councillor Marvin Caplan's argument in favour of the mid-peninsula highway is based on two significant errors: The first is that the mid-pen is needed to stimulate economic growth in Hamilton. The second is that Vision 2020 is about compromise. Unfortunately, these erroneous assumptions are held by a majority of Hamilton city council.

Vision 2020 is first and foremost about sustainable development, meaning living within the biophysical carrying capacity of our region, and ensuring at least comfortable sufficiency for all our citizens.

To be sustainable, economic activities must operate within these ecological and social/moral imperatives. This is not a matter of trading one area off against another (ecological, social and economic). There is no compromise with the laws of nature.

Sustainability is about learning to develop economic activities which neither destroy the services provided by our ecosystems, nor create unjust inequalities among citizens. This is possible, but not with the current approach advocated by council.

Sustainable development involves a model of economic development based on making local self-sufficiency a priority and encouraging sustainable (as defined above) business development. Neither of these approaches to sustainable economic development requires anything like the mid-pen.

Such a highway will create more urban sprawl and greatly reduce the biodiversity of our community. Any short-term economic gain by the few who are in a position to take advantage of such sprawl will generate enormous ecological and social/health costs that will be borne by the rest of us.

There is an alternative. Let's do it.

-- Jack Santa-Barbara, Lynden.

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