Doug Ford, son of former Conservative premier of Ontario, Mike, wants to build a new highway in the vicinity of Tory-held Pickering (our northernmost riding) to accommodate growing population and to allow for their golf course to be enlarged to cope with its busy golf game.
In addition to the three roads already in place through that part of Pickering from high to low elevation, there is also the existing, narrow Dufferin Highway.
Why is the opposition led by MPP Kate Young (PC – Tory — Windsor-Tecumseh) against the new highways? My guess would be that it has something to do with geography, an insensitivity to the fact that Pickering lies on the sides of a low-lying river, and an above all thing of politics.
Young notes the addition of the new highway would mean a parallel road to the existing Don Valley Parkway (if such a road were built) and creates a dramatic change for anyone who drives out of that area around to go to residential Pickering.
The $2.5-billion highway link to Highway 400/Bruce Highway is not terribly viable either.
Young states simply that the cost is too much of a concern to consider. She says all four of the roads are safe and readily accessible, even without an additional highway to Pickering.
(Does she suggest roads all around the Town of London? For residents of Middlesex County this should make no difference to the safety of the residents living in her ward, particularly in the area of Lindsay Road, as such a suggestion would suggest a need for additional roads.)
This should be a non-issue. It can be easily dealt with.
In fact, by requiring the eventual reconfiguration of existing roads in the area, the impact of the high number of cars would decrease.
One should also consider the construction of two other highways that have long awaited to be built in the area. These roads are either the Flick Parkway extension which would connect Highway 401 with the South Kent Road extension or a section of Highways 401 near the Highway 3/Dufferin Highway interchange where the two interchanges come together.
With today’s better technology, these types of projects can be built quite quickly.
According to figures provided by the Ontario government, construction costs of these roads are estimated to be about $500 million. These roads were previously listed as priority projects in various ministry reviews. The need for road expansion must be weighed against the need for the golf course expansion, which many would say is a good thing.
Doug Ford would be well advised to look past the electoral calendar of his opponents and disregard the oft-used comments in the media.
It is easy to point to the need for roads and then posture in front of the news cameras that the proposed new highways should not be funded.
It should be remembered that Kathleen Wynne’s government in recent years also pointed to the need for additional highways when they attempted to override the local election results of the area.
This does not amount to logic. It is simply politics.
Keith Eyolfson is the Conservative MPP for Tory-held ward 20 in Windsor-Tecumseh. He is also a member of the Energy Committee and Environment committee.