Media are reporting that Ontario Premier Doug Ford is considering allowing farmers to pay landowners along the proposed Highway 413 extension to help pay for that highway, but if that’s true, this makes a whole lot of sense.
Having heard from constituents with properties along the proposed route, I have come to the realization that some communities along this route must be totally wiped out if this highway is ever going to be built.
The farmland along this highway is absolutely critical to the viability of family farming in this part of Ontario.
I couldn’t agree more with the April 2018 report from the Ontario Farmers Union (OFU), which includes a call to keep the farm footprint to a minimum.
Please allow me to share one of the many options I’ve seen in the OFU report that makes complete sense.
Of the options included in the OFU report, and approved by the OFU board, I believe the plan to opt in to the STABLE [Sustainable Agricultural Stabilization and Development,] program is the most sensible one.
Simply because the Agricultural Stabilization and Development program covers the cost of the existing levee along this highway, and prevents any loss of farmland with this proposed roadway.
This approach makes all the sense in the world, especially when we consider the other options, like the one reported in The Globe and Mail.
There, in yet another front-page story, the newspaper suggests that the province could require landowners to sell their land for highways, at a bargain price, to make up for their loss.
Not only does this make absolutely no sense from an ecological standpoint, it would lock farmers into an unsustainable fate.
Therefore, I’m excited to learn that the Ontario government is looking at some options, and considering giving farmers an opt-in into the S&D program.
For the sake of Ontario farmers and the viability of Ontario’s farming communities, I urge government to come to the table, and work with farmers to save farmland along this highway.