Paving paradise

I love the town that I grew up in.

That town doesn’t exist anymore.

It’s not like the economy collapsed and everyone moved away. The opposite happened: everyone moved in.

New housing developments on the north, south, east and west edges of town have caused a population boom. And more houses are being built everyday. In fact the population of my formerly small town is forecast to double to more than 36,000 people over the next 10-20 years.

SIgns for a housing development

The result of all of this growth is predictable: traffic gridlock. My parents, who still live in the house I grew up in, make a point of not going out during dinner time because they spend all of their time sitting in the car not moving.

Last week, our local paper reported that plans for a long-debated bypass road have been approved. The road will be constructed on the north edge of town and is designed to funnel people around the town core.

Great in theory. Obviously much needed. However, the north end of town is a wetland.

Path through a forest

The article in the paper said that the provincial environment minister “was satisfied the city had developed measures to mitigate the impact on a wetland.” Ummm, you’re building a road through wetland. I don’t think there’s any way you can mitigate the impact of that.

Watching all of the new houses being built in my town was one of the things that solidified my decision to move to the country and to buy the biggest piece of property I could. I didn’t want to be part of suburbia. I wanted to preserve the world and protect it.

Half of our property is wetland. It is restricted by the local conservation authority. So is the land where this new bypass road is going to be built. Governments and municipalities put these protection measures in place and then ignore them in the name of convenience and progress.

Everyday I drive past my childhood town. I see the massive construction developments that are adding thousands of new houses. I see the power centres that have pulled shoppers away from the independent businesses in the town core to the big box stores on the fringes. I see the roads that are paralyzed with more cars than they were meant to handle.

Suburban town homes

I see little thought to intensification, public transit or (sub)urban planning.

I am disappointed that this road has been approved. But looking back even further, I’m disappointed that so many houses were approved for construction. I realize that nothing stays the same, but this isn’t progress to me.

8 thoughts on “Paving paradise

  1. This has been going on for decades. Some of the best agricultural land in the world is the Golden Horseshoe around Lake Ontario. There is very little still being farmed. As someone who grew up on a farm it makes me sad.

  2. I couldn’t agree more, “progress” shouldn’t have to mean “destruction of nature”. It’s sad that they usually go hand-in-hand. Hopefully more and more people are aware of this and do something about it.

      • I understand, I feel the same way. That’s one of the reason why I started my blog to talk about healthy eating and living, because each of our decisions, including buying our groceries has an impact. I figured that if I could tell others about it, they might change their buying habits as well as sensitize them to the environment, little by little, it’ll make a difference. That’s my goal at least.

  3. Oh man, I so agree with this. When my kids were little, we moved to a small town outside of Edmonton. There were so many great things about this town, but now it’s just like another suburb. If you were put down blindfolded into the middle of the big box stores, you’d have no idea what city or town you were even in. It’s very depressing and it angers me, too. And you’re absolutely right, there’s no mitigating a road through a wetland! In fact the process of building it involves FILLING UP the wetland – I mean, come on… I’m glad people like you are protecting bits of nature for us, but we definitely need more. And we need aggressive action to protect the national and provincial parks, fast! This government is trying so hard to make inroads into that once-thought-of-as-inviolate heritage. Grrr! Here in BC we’re grappling with this whole pipeline and oil tanker issue. Sometimes I think the world has gone crazy… 😦

      • We just have to keep resisting, signing petitions, writing letters, going to rallies and showing support for other resistors however we can. The resistance movement is definitely growing. I believe that there are still plenty of resources to go around if they are thoughtfully apportioned, but in the world as a whole, we have to start facing the issues of population control and reliance on fossil fuels. There you go, that’s my prescription! (I’m not grandiose, really, lol…)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.