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Say no to mid-pen

The Welland Tribune -Wed. 18 Dec., 2002
Byline: Robert Kuret

An open letter to Mayor Vance Badawey:

Niagara residents like myself are joining the opposition to the
mid-peninsula highway not just because of the escarpment crossing in
Burlington, but because of the many environmental impacts such a massive
development would have here in Niagara.

Air quality is becoming a real concern in Niagara with more than 28 air
quality advisories this year, issued as early as April. Building a new
highway will only worsen our air quality. "Spreading out traffic" will
result in an increase in smog somewhere else like rural areas. Smog is
blamed for 2000 premature deaths in Ontario and is linked to respiratory
and cardiovascular disease, according to the Ontario Medical Association.

Forests and wetlands will have to be paved over for this proposed highway,
resulting in loss of wildlife habitat, trees purifying our air, wetlands
filtering the impurities in our water. Some of the proposed areas on the
MTO mid-peninsula highway map in Niagara are important deer wintering
areas. Once these greenspaces are paved over they are gone forever as with
some of the wildlife.

There are many rural Niagara residents that are concerned their farms will
be paved over. How do you tell a third-generation farm family that they
have to sell their land to the provincial government or it will be
expropriated.

With a new highway, we will see urban sprawl pressures squeezing the
Niagara escarpment between the QEW and the MPH. Urban sprawl, while it
increases the tax base, it is the taxpayer that has to pay for
infrastructure like road construction, sewer lines, water lines to be
brought into new developments.

Urban sprawl in the long run will only congest our roads further - that is
quite evident driving through the GTA.

You state, Mr. Badawey, that an environmental assessment "will mitigate any
concerns." Unless we have a full environmental assessment that includes a
total examination of all alternatives, including non-highway alternatives,
then the environmental assessment will only be a rubber stamp process. We
have to abandon 1950's transportation policies to address the gridlock
problems of the 21st century, which include a serious examination of mass
public transit.

Robert Kuret

Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment
(Niagara member)
Wellandport



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