Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Ontario has announced that a new highway will be built at Bradford. Zaynab Kanji looks at the pros and cons. After reading the article, please let us know what you think.

The planned highway, called the Bradford Bypass or the Holland Marsh Highway, would be a 16.2-kilometre, four-lane controlled access freeway connecting two other highways and could potentially ease a lot of traffic flow. The plan is extremely controversial, however, as there are many negative factors along with the positive.

The planned highway would extend from Highway 400 between lines 8 and 9 in Bradford West Gwillimbury; it would cross a small portion of King Township and connect to Highway 404 between Queensville Sideroad and Holborn Road in East Gwillimbury.

Among the pros is that this highway would help prepare the area for the expected massive population growth and would help fight congestion in one of the fastest growing regions in North America. The population is increasing at a rapid speed and as the region continues to grow, there will be more vehicles on the road.

This traffic congestion has already made a major dent in the economy, and with the growing number, it will only continue to do so. Some type of new infrastructure is required to help aid people and goods so that traffic does not come to a complete halt with the over-congestion.

Along with the clearing up of congestion, supporters of the highway say there are also economic benefits, as it is critical infrastructure for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The construction would create and provide jobs, help connect people to major employment centres and attract more business to the area. They also say the highway would help with transporting goods faster and more efficiently throughout the Greater Toronto Area, resulting in a boost to Ontario’s and Canada’s economies.

Negative effects include major environmental impacts, such as the effect on endangered species, migratory birds and aquatic life; there would also be an increase in carbon emissions. The highway could cause irreversible environmental damage, including harm to fish habitat, multiple federal species at risk and significant wetlands, forests and ecosystems.

The project could also significantly contaminate the groundwater of Lake Simcoe. Overall, the environment of Lake Simcoe would be at stake with the building of this bypass and many of these impacts are permanent.

There is no recent environmental assessment on building the Bradford Bypass. Environmental organizations are requesting that a federal EA be carried out before any highway goes ahead.

It is clear that there is a major controversy in regards to building the Bradford Bypass and, understandably, residents are divided over this proposed plan.

Let us know what you think. Follow this link to take part in a quick survey: https://forms.gle/mkBkRvTLeingnxkR6
(The survey is anonymous. Your name and email are not required.)

Article and Google survey by Zaynab Kanji, a Grade 11 student at Richmond Hill High School. For February to June 2021, Zaynab is an intern with Lake Simcoe Living through the co-op program at RHHS.

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