It was disappointing the other day to read a letter to the editor of Barrie Today from the executive director of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition. It is very hard to support efforts to preserve the Greenbelt when the rationale of a government project is misunderstood and unnecessarily maligned.
First of all, the Bradford Bypass was in the planning long before the Ford conservatives came on the scene. His people linked the unneeded and destructive Highway 413 to the Bradford Bypass in an attempt to legitimatize the 413. If Ontario drivers have not noticed, maybe they have not driven up and down Highway 400 in recent years. Those new bridges being built, and including those in Barrie itself, are a major aid in accommodating the burgeoning economy of Simcoe County.
For the last 20 years, Ontario has been bringing Highway 404 up east of Yonge Street. Instead of building the 404 east to Highway 12, which will eventually be Highway 412, to go east of Lake Simcoe, the 404 was planned to bypass the Holland Marsh and Bradford to link to the 400.
People do not appreciate the years of work that go into this planning. I can remember picking strawberries at the south end of what we knew would eventually be Highway 400 back when I was in grade school. When I came home from the air force, Highway 401 had only been built as far east as Bayview Avenue in Toronto.
I really doubt that the executive director of the Simcoe County greenbelt coalition is equipped to complain about the cost of the Bradford Bypass. That bypass will help get many more billions in vegetables from the Holland Marsh to market faster. It will speed the weekend traffic to weekends in Muskoka.
It is worth spending billions on highways when they contribute so much to the economy of Ontario.
The fact that Highway 413 and the Greenbelt land swaps would only benefit Mr. Ford’s developer friends has to be resolved when Ontario next goes to the polls.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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