A Lake Simcoe Living poll shows public opinion is sharply divided over an Ontario-government proposed road, dubbed the Bradford Bypass or the Holland Marsh Highway.
The planned highway would be a 16.2-kilometre, four-lane controlled access freeway. It would join Highway 400 north of Holland Street West in Bradford, between lines 8 and 9. There would be full interchanges at Yonge Street and Bathurst Street, with a final interchange at Highway 404, between Queensville Sideroad and Holborn Road in East Gwillimbury. There would also be a partial interchange at Leslie Street.
While an Environmental Assessment has been carried out, it is almost 20 years old and predates the Lake Simcoe Protection Act and Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. Environmental organizations are requesting that a federal EA be carried out before any highway goes ahead.
The Lake Simcoe Living poll, created on Google by Zaynab Kanji, shows that 50-percent of respondents want the bypass built. The poll also showed 41.2-percent do not want the bypass built, and 8.8-percent said they were not sure. Thirty-five people voted in the poll.
The Lake Simcoe Living poll also asked: “What are your additional opinions on the planned building of the Bypass?” Sixteen people responded, and here are their answers:
- We need to focus on public transport, not single occupancy vehicles. We're in a climate crisis here. What good are roads when the planet is in chaos?
- It's known to be damaging a sensitive place; options should be explored.
- It’s really needed to combat present and future traffic.
- I think this is something that should have been done earlier but at least they are getting on it now - I just hope they're serious
- Very concerned about the environmental and health impacts. While pro/highway folks claim many benefits, the reality of these benefits is unclear because they have not been studied for this project (eg reduced traffic congestion and commute times). To move forward with old assessments is reckless and totally unacceptable.
- The province has not demonstrated need, compliance with its own policies and is proceeding in a manner that is reckless and irresponsible. The EA is dated approved prior to the existence of the GB Plan or LSPP. The Province needs to start over and complete an honest and responsible assessment. One that includes meaningful public consultation. Elected officials are doing a disservice to their residents by ignoring the massive lack of current factual information. It behooves me to understand why the LSRCA or any other local or regional gov’t have not had staff complete staff reports on the valid public concerns being raised. This is only compounding the problem.
- Any carbon emissions from the project are offset by traffic being able to move instead of sitting in gridlock wasting gas.
- The EA is outdated and the Province is asking for an exemption. If it was a bad idea in 2002 with what we know about climate change and protecting wetlands we know better. Protecting Lake Simcoe has to be more than saying the right things. We need to see the lakes health a priority.
- Another highway is not needed!
- There's too many fallbacks to it, especially the environmental ones, and I think we've been making do without it for so long, we should be ok.
- We are very concerned about the negative impact on the marsh and lake. However, as residents of Innisfil, this highway would be very helpful when we drive to visit our sons in Uxbridge and the east end of Toronto!
- An environmental study is a must-have. Controlling sprawl and further destruction of wildlife needs to be carefully considered.
- A new updated environmental assessment should be done. Investment should focus on increasing public transit to reduce traffic congestion.
- Not without a good EA. They might find it is too costly if they have to mitigate. Still need more local employment opportunities so there doesn't need to be so much traffic.
- It’s astonishing the due process being skipped to push this through. Please help encourage public dissent on this. Lake Simcoe can’t handle it.
- It is more important to protect Lake Simcoe and the surrounding farm land
Research for Lake Simcoe Living 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.