It is a pickle of a situation indeed. There is more and more pressure to start paving paradise; some of the best agricultural land in the province. An unelected committee plans to close Windsor’s two current acute care hospitals and build a so-called mega hospital in a farmer’s field near the airport.
The mayor of Lakeshore wants to seek permission for a Comber industrial park near Highway 401. Tom Bain, says the Windsor Star, will need the land once his current Patillo Road industrial park fills up.
Both projects are both pure environmental madness and a sad tale of government gone wild, if the province gives its nod of approval.
Turning farmland to hospital and industrial space is costly. Windsor taxpayers could face a multi-million dollar bill to provide services to the hospital. There is no transit to Comber, a negative of Bain’s proposed development.
There’s no estimate so far from Bain about what his taxpayers will need to spend to service his new industrial park. Both projects are happening as plenty of land sits idle in Windsor, including the former GM transmission plant. If the projects go ahead, both will be detrimental to the region’s largest population centre and needlessly expand urban sprawl.
Repurposed farmland might also be counterproductive.
Mark Reusser, of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and writing in a news piece on December 13, 2013 posted to the Federation’s website, talks of dire consequences. He said that only, “… 5% of Ontario’s land base is suitable for agriculture. And since we have no way to make more soil, we need to hold on to all the productive land and soil we have.”
The most worrisome part of the farm land grab is lost growing space. According to statistics, Reusser says every day the province loses more productive land. Between 2006 and 2011 nearly 260,000 hectares of farmland was lost.
Reusser is saying enough is enough simply because the province, “… cannot sustain this level of land loss and continue producing enough food, fibre and fuel. And, if losing farmland to development, urban sprawl, and encroachment wasn’t bad enough, our growing population is putting increasing pressure on farmers to produce more on less land.”
What the province must do to get out of this pickle is easy.
It only needs to consolidate Windsor with its bedroom communities to form a regional urban government. At the same time, set up a land use commission with clear instructions to block any land use project until all of the available land now sitting empty in the Census Metropolitan Area used.
This would also save taxpayers plenty. Land in the city and surrounding towns is largely serviced. It can be used without new costly infrastructure.