A Niagara Region That Cares About the Environment and Climate Change Shouldn’t Be Building Roads Through Provincially Significant Wetlands

“No wonder citizens are skeptical about the Region’s plans to create Natural Heritage and Water Resource Systems. No wonder we look with a jaundiced eye at potential Climate Change policies.”

A Commentary by Liz Benneian, a resident of Niagara, Ontario and Executive Director and Manager, Environmental Education Ontariogreen

Posted April 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Region of Niagara is proposing an extension of Merritt Rd. where it currently dead ends between Rice Rd. (Regional Rd 54) and Cataract Rd.

That extension would run straight through Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSW). Active transportation routes are also planned along the road substantially increasing the path of destruction.

Haven’t we learned anything about the need to protect our significant natural areas and the green infrastructure services they provide? In fact, the entire length of the existing portions of Merritt Road, have Significant wetlands on either side of them

 In some segments they are proposing widening the road to four lanes and for all segments they are proposing adding active transportation corridors.

Where roads lead development follows.

One of a number of Provincially Signifcant Wetlands – this one in Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario – that is in the target of predatory developers

If you destroy provincially significant wetlands with road building projects, how convenient it becomes to classify them as no longer significant so you can now develop adjacent lands.

If you don’t plan to develop, why is there a need to extend and expand Merritt Road?

There are already two existing parallel roadways, Port Robinson Rd. and Quaker Rd. What will be gained by destroying the wetlands, a minute or two less driving time?

And what will be lost in terms the cost of building an unnecessary road to taxpayers and the cost to our already damaged and fragmented local ecology?

This plan has been called “a disgusting waste of natural resources and tax dollars”.

We agree.

This is the same Transportation department that wants to run a road through the Irish Grove Woodland in Grimsby — the largest remaining Carolinian forest parcel between the Escarpment on the Lake. What is wrong with the Region?

They talk about sustainability, they talk about making a climate change plan, they talk about protecting what’s left of Niagara’s severely depleted and fragmented ecosystem, but they are only too happy to pave over every green thing in sight.

No wonder citizens are skeptical about the Region’s plans to create Natural Heritage and Water Resource Systems. No wonder we look with a jaundiced eye at potential Climate Change policies or question Regional claims of following good planning practices. It’s 2021.

Liz Benneian

Our Regional government needs to stop making decisions in silos as if planning policy and road building are unconnected to the climate crisis and environmental protection. We don’t care that you’ve been “planning these roads for a long time”. You know better now, you need to do better.

Liz Benneian is a resident of Niagara, Ontario and Executive Director and Manager, Environmental Education Ontariogreen

For more information on Ontariogreen, click on www.ontariogreen.ca

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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