Yesterday I had the privilege to present to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure, and Cultural Policy regarding Bill 23 More Homes Built Faster Act 2022 that is currently in second reading at the Ontario Legislature.
As stated in a previous article this Bill, unless substantially altered, has the potential to inflict massive environmental damage on communities all across this province but especially on those in the greater Toronto area. Below is the text of my opening remarks to the Committee. If you are like me and believe in building communities that are healthy and happy through environmental, social and economic sustainability, then I urge you to let your MPP know that Bill 23 needs a significant overhaul. An easy way to do that is through the David Suzuki Foundation’s letter campaign.
Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act is the Ontario Government’s latest omnibus bill that is being fast tracked through the Provincial legislature. Purportedly designed to reduce red tape and allow developers to build 1.5 Million homes over the next 10 years, this bill proposes sweeping changes to multiple provincial statutes in support of the government’s “Housing Supply Action Plan”.
There are a few positive aspects to Bill 23 including:
If you are interested in showing your displeasure about the Ontario PC government’s plan to ram a provincial limited access highway through the heart of the greenbelt all but destroying Brampton’s planned Heritage Heights community, here is your chance.
Several grassroots organizations have banded together to raise awareness about the proposed 413 highway and the 2,000 acres of irreplaceable farmland that will be destroyed and that will set the stage for car dependent development for the next 30 years!
You can join walkers starting from the Heart Lake Garden Centre on Heart Lake Rd. at 10:00am. You can join cyclists starting near Kleinburg or from Mississauga at the Lisgar GO station. Both rides start at 9:45am. Walks and rides end at the Brampton Fairgrounds in Caledon.
The pressing need of the climate emergency gives us a unique opportunity to rethink how we use land and how we move people and goods in the Greater Toronto Area. Building more super highways such as the proposed 413 and the Bradford Bypass represent status quo thinking that is bad not just for environmental reasons but also because of the cost and the negative social implications. Recent BEA blog posts outline these consequences so please check them out for more details.
We still have an opportunity to do this right but first we have to get our Provincial Government to rethink their position that supports building these highways. The first step is to encourage the Federal Government to complete a full impact assessment to take yet another detailed look at the impact of Highway 413. Add yours to the chorus of Ontario voices who are concerned the Provincial Government will be taking us in the wrong direction if this highway is built.
You may have voted Conservative in the last provincial election but recent surveys indicate you don’t support spending billions on highways that are of questionable value and certain to cause environmental damage. Please take action to make your position clear on this issue. Thank you!
The Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) is teaming with Engage Peel, Human Impact Environment and GreePAC to host an all-candidates debate for the upcoming Provincial election in the riding of Brampton North. The debate will take place virtually on May 17th, 6:30-8:00pm.
GreenPAC is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that runs 100 Debates on the Environment, with the objective to make the environment an issue that no party and no candidate can ignore. GreenPAC works with local groups to co-ordinate and underwrite the costs of hosting an all-candidates debate.
“GreenPAC believes, debates let candidates know that the environment is a top voter priority”, according to GreenPAC Program Coordinator Rizwana Hussain. “They help voters to make the connection between climate change and their other priorities, like health and affordability, and to make an informed choice at the polls.”
The next meeting of the Brampton Environmental Alliance will be held virtually on Wednesday December 8th. Informal networking at 6:15pm. The meeting starts at 6:30pm sharp! Click the Register button for your free ticket.
Keynote presentation by Dr. Dianne Saxe. Dianne Saxe is one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers and was the independent Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, until the Conservative Government rolled that position under the Office of the Auditor General in 2019. Dianne is running as a member of Provincial Parliament candidate for the Green Party of Ontario (University Rosedale riding) in next year’s Provincial election. Dianne is an articulate defender of the environment and a champion of the new green economy. The BEA is thrilled Dianne has agreed to share her passion and environmental knowledge with BEA meeting participants.
Spotlight presentation by Tooba Shakeel. Tooba is a Senior Coordinator of Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program (SNAP) at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC). She is an ISA Certified Arborist, an EcoDistrict Accredited Professional and a Board member of LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) a Toronto-based not-for-profit group dedicated to urban forest protection. Thanks to Tooba for agreeing to share information about CVC programs in Brampton including the Fletcher’s Creek SNAP!
Events This group coordinates events for members and assists with events for residents – BEA Collaboration event, Brampton Earth Day event
Education and Resources This group arranges talks on environmental topics, using the One Planet principles of focus: Land and Nature, Culture and Community, Travel and Transport as they relate to Brampton. The group also helps connect members to needed resources and expertise on financing and various environmental topics
Advocacy This group helps coordinate and amplify community advocacy campaigns and environmental initiatives under the three One Planet principles above.