Originally published as an op-ed in The London Free Press.
As usual, city council seems desperate to keep developers happy, despite having declared a climate emergency. Mayor Ed Holder wants to take a “when, not if” approach to a new 350-home subdivision in the northwest. In other areas of the city, rampant urban sprawl continues unabated.
By declaring a climate emergency, council is meant to take climate change into account in all decisions. Woodlands, wetlands and undisturbed land are crucial carbon sinks. Agricultural land has the potential to store huge amounts of carbon. When these lands are developed, they release large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. With a lack of public transit and cycling infrastructure, a focus on car-centric design and use of carbon-intensive building techniques, these developments also have a large carbon footprint.
Development on rural land must stop. Council must mandate urban intensification and infill development. Their own declaration requires it.