The Ford government in Ontario is desperately trying to find a rationale for voter approval. It wants to be seen to be doing something that will earn it a chance at re-election next June. It has chosen the Bradford Bypass as the main player. And the politicians are now playing a childish game of snakes and ladders over some of the most vulnerable land in the province.
Bradford, Ontario is the centre for the area known as the Holland Marsh, some of the richest, most fertile land in the province. It is a major source of garden vegetables for Ontario’s 14.5 million citizens. The Bradford Bypass, also known as Highway 404, is designed today to skirt around most of the Holland Marsh to join Highway 400 just north of Highway 88. What this will do is create a greatly increased flow of traffic going north around Barrie.
While the Highway 400 bridges around Barrie are currently being rebuilt to accommodate up to eight lanes of traffic, all we know in Barrie is that the summer-weekend traffic jams on Highway 400 from the added Highway 404 traffic are not something to which we will look forward.
In the children’s game of snakes and ladders, it is the ladders you have to climb but the snakes slide you back down again. It seems the Ford conservatives are working with the snakes to slide us back down. The conservatives seem to have a penchant for aiding their friends the developers who have fortuitously bought parcels of land just where the new highway will have access for buyers of their developments. And yet moving the new highway 10 to 20 kilometers north would lower land costs and completely bypass the Holland Marsh.
Ideally, of course, an arm of Highway 404 was to connect with the proposed Highway 412, east of Lake Simcoe, to accommodate traffic going north of Orillia. Can we assume that is still the intent?
And the biggest snake for us to slide down was the by-the-way from the Ford conservatives that they are thinking of making this new section of Highway 404 a toll road. The bastards will probably sell our highway to a Russian consortium, and we will pay, and pay, and pay.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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