Ontario Construction News staff writer
Mississauga Council has this week approved a motion that strongly opposes the construction of the proposed GTA West Highway (413).
“I’m so proud of Council for passing this motion today. The proposed GTA West Highway will have a disastrous impact on the environment, encourage residential sprawl and increase our dependence on cars,” Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a news release.
The Ford government plan to build a 400-series highway in the northwest of the Greater Toronto Area. Highway 413, also called the GTA West corridor, would run through Vaughan, Caledon, Brampton and Halton Hills, connecting Highway 400 with the Highway 401/407 interchange.
First suggested about 15 years ago, the 59-kilometre project was killed in 2018 by the Wynne government, then resuscitated a year later when Doug Ford took over.
Mississauga is the latest of many city councils, agricultural and environmental groups and residents voicing opposition.
“As a council, we’ve been so dedicated to trying to combat these issues, so we could no longer simply stand idle. Too many experts and organizations have come out against this planned highway, and today we stand with them.”
Organizations opposed to the plan include:
- Environmental Defence
- David Suzuki Foundation
- Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods
- Gravel Watch Ontario
- Halton Environmental Network
- National Farmers’ Union-Ontario
- Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition
- Sustainable Vaughan
- Transport Action Ontario Wilderness Committee
- Sustainable Mississauga
Also, the municipalities of Halton Hills and Orangeville have recorded their opposition with council votes.
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the regulatory authority for developments in flood plains, wetlands and valley lands has also objected to the potential impact of the proposed highway as well as the streamlined Environmental Assessment process.
Environmental Defence has asked the federal government to step in and perform an assessment of its own on both Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass, another controversial highway project and Ottawa has asked for input from seven regions, towns and cities that would be affected by the new highways.
The group has distributed hundreds of ‘Stop the 413’ lawn signs and collected thousands of signatures on two online petitions against the project. They argue that Highway 413 would degrade the parts of the Credit River and Humber River watersheds that flow into Lake Ontario – a source of drinking water for millions of GTA residents.
Highway 413 would be 50 km long and would pave over 2,000 acres of Class 1 and Class 2 farmland – among Ontario’s most productive farmland.
“The loss of farmland from this project will result in fragmentation of the agricultural land base and a weakening of the provincial agricultural system,” the OTF wrote in a submission to the province in October of last year.