The following statement was released Friday by Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition executive director Claire Malcolmson in response to Premier Doug Ford's apology about the Greenbelt controversy on Thursday:
We are thrilled that the Greenbelt battle has been won by Ontarians who overwhelmingly support sustainable land use and the protection of nature over expensive sprawl.
This is a win for democracy, too, but it has come at some cost.
The reason so many people have become activists in the past few years is because they are furious at the government for not showing up at debates, not returning their calls, not listening to experts, and for disregarding typical political norms of behaviour.
What concerns me is that in the same “mea culpa” press conference, the premier promised to double down on building the Greenbelt highways, the Bradford Bypass and the 413.
If people think the process for the Greenbelt was bad, they might want to know that, for instance, there are no air quality standards that have to be met to protect residents’ health, for the Bradford Bypass, nor are the traffic studies that are supposed to support and justify the entire project publicly available.
Right now, they are changing the procedures and rules for water-taking at highway construction sites. The bypass is another unjustified gift to landowners.
We have questions and no one is answering, no one is accountable.
Ontarians have smelled the coffee. But how far will the provincial government go to earn back trust?
The road is long and the issues are many.