Why Should I Care?
Sprawl Hurts Us All!
Sprawl is a commonly used term often interchangeably used with urban sprawl or even suburban sprawl. At the root of this definition, regardless of the exact phrase, is that it is a community that is growing out onto farmland and green spaces rather than directing growth to areas that already have roads, sewers, various services etc. Sprawl is at the centre of many community’s issues from massive debt, high taxes to crumbling downtowns.Sprawl is not healthy growth; it’s growth that harms.
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Farmland in Canada is precious and disappearing at an alarming rate, consider this:
- Only 0.5% of all land in Canada is Class 1 – 52% of this is in Ontario
- Just 11% of land in Canada is used agriculturally
- Since 1981, Ontario lost roughly 1 km per day of prime farmland to development
Loss of farmland threatens our food security and eradicates local food sources. We can no longer afford to pave over our farmland so recklessly. We must protect our farmland now before it’s too late. Farmland is not a renewable resource!
Sprawl targets farms and green spaces – that is its key definer. So for every sprawl development that is allowed to happen, more green space and farmland is removed.
The fact is that our green spaces provide an economic service to our communities for FREE including:
- flood control and erosion control
- waste filtration
- air purification
- water purification
In most communities the value of these environmental benefits can be in the multi millions of dollars. So, the truth is that we need our green spaces – we cannot live without them. It is time that we put them and their environmental services before profit.
Sprawl forces people into their cars to get to most of the services that most households need. That increased use of the car increases traffic congestion, traffic accidents and degraded air quality.
More people, especially huge increases of people, generally comes to mean also more crime, more congestion and a less neighbourly feel. There is a way to grow that enriches the community, but it’s not through sprawl.
Finally, as sprawl removes farmland and green spaces, it becomes less of a rural, small town and more of a bedroom community with little of its original heritage. This simply cannot be considered progress.
Sprawl affects hard working families and residents in many ways Sprawl costs us financially through:
- higher property taxes
- service fees and/or service cuts to balance budgets
- more community debt
- higher sewer/water rates
Since sprawl is financially unsustainable, it is a problem that compounds. To ensure that we leave financially strong and viable communities to future generations, we must curb sprawl.