Schreiner says urban sprawl would make life ‘less affordable’ while threatening farmland in Milton and Halton Hills
In a virtual conference that was held today (Jan. 26), the leader of Ontario’s Green Party, Mike Schreiner addressed the spread of urban sprawl in Halton Region and discussed its potentially harmful impact on agricultural land in Milton and Halton Hills.
Schreiner was joined by Milton Councillor Colin Best and Jane Fogal, Regional and local Municipal Councillor for the Region of Halton and the Town of Halton Hills.
Halton Region’s plan is geared to accommodate growth, with a population goal to reach one million in Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills by 2051.
As a result, to accommodate future housing and industrial needs, Halton Region is considering replacing 2,120 hectares of mostly agricultural land in Milton and Halton Hills.
During the conference, Schreiner noted that the urban sprawl would actually make life “less affordable.”
“The urban sprawl is not the solution to the housing crisis. It actually makes life less affordable. It threatens the farmland that feeds us and the wetlands that clean our drinking water and protect us from flooding,” he said.
He also noted that the City of Hamilton recently took a stand against the pressure from the province to expand their urban boundary and said no to the sprawl. As a result, he encouraged municipal councils across Ontario, including Halton Region to do the same.
“We have some of the best farmland in southern Ontario and particularly in Halton Region and we simply cannot continue to lose 175 acres of farmland each and every day in Ontario,” he said adding that it is the equivalent of five family farms every week.
“We have to protect the land that contributes to creating over 870,000 jobs in the food and farming sector contributing $50 billion to Ontario’s economy. We have other solutions. As a matter of fact, there is already 88,000 acres of developable land within existing urban boundaries approved for development.”
Councillor Colin Best responded with a different perspective for the Milton area specifically.
“On this issue, I bring a different perspective for the Milton area, which has been known as the fastest-growing municipality in Canada for a number of years. Unfortunately, with fast growth, you also have a lot of challenges in terms of education, healthcare and transportation. We’re short on all of them,” said Best.
Best also noted that the dilemma they are being faced with, is that the province is telling them they have to grow, but not providing the proper tools.
Schreiner concluded the conference by stating that they can build liveable, affordable communities without paving over the farmland and wetlands.
“We can build communities that are great places to live where people can live close to where they work and close to the places they want to shop and the services they want to access,” said Schreiner.
“We just need a provincial policy framework that works with municipalities as partners to develop those livable, affordable communities. We need the federal government at the table as well to help us work across all levels of government to address the housing affordability crisis and do it in a way that works for people and communities.”insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising