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LETTER: Reader warns Bill 23 is 'a disaster' in waiting

Doug Ford is putting 'profit above the safety and well-being of Ontarians' and refusing to learn from the lessons of Hurricane Hazel, laments reader
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MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter, about Bill 23, is from a woman who lived through Hurricane Hazel and recalls the lives lost and the shock and grief that followed that disaster.
On Oct. 15, 1954, Hurricane Hazel dropped 300 million tons of rain on Southern Ontario. Rivers became raging torrents, and the Holland Marsh was under 1.2 to nine metres of water, which flooded the whole 7,000-acre area.

In Ontario, 81 people died, and 4,000 families were left homeless, including 1,868 families in the Toronto area. The damage in today’s value was $1.4 billion. This happened because there was a housing shortage after World War II, and buildings were allowed on flood plains and wetlands. 

Yet despite this, Doug Ford has passed Bill 23, which allows his developer cronies to build where they please: in the Greenbelt, on flood plains, and on wetlands.

Worst of all, Bill 23 forbids conservation authorities from warning municipalities and house buyers of the dangers of building on wetlands. Conservation authorities were given increased powers to prevent another disaster like Hurricane Hazel, but Doug Ford has put profit above the safety and well-being of Ontarians.

No insurance company is going to cover houses built on property prone to flooding; it will not be an act of God, but rather a knowing act of Queen's Park. Not only are people going to lose their homes and investment, but they might also lose their lives, too, just so that Doug Ford’s rich developer friends can become richer.

Bill 23 is a disaster waiting to happen. It must be repealed immediately.

Vicki Sherwood