Protesters gather in Barrie against ‘cruel’ Act 23


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dated: 2022-11-20 01:49:47 .

The group is protesting in front of the MPP office to ‘make the powerful listen’

Concerned citizens braved the cold wind outside Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MPP Doug Downey’s office on Bell Farm Road in Barrie Saturday afternoon to protest what they see as an injustice by Premier Doug Ford’s government.

They believe the province’s More Homes Built Faster bill — also known as Bill 23 — will swallow up and destroy ecologically sensitive land.

About 50 people took to the corner of Bell Farm Road and St Vincent Street to wave banners at passing motorists as they tried to raise awareness of their concerns about the proposed law.

Margaret Prophet, executive director of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, led the disgruntled group at the event and was clear about their intentions.

“We’re here to tell Doug Downey and his boss, Premier Ford, that we want housing, but we don’t want our wetlands and green belt destroyed because of it. There is more than enough land to house the housing that we will need, and this is just a huge gift to developers and we will not take it,” she said. BarrieToday.

“People want to be close to their jobs and services. These places that clean our air and supply our water and grow our food are not replaceable places, so to pretend that housing is just to open sacred places, to give developers a gift is just cruel.”

The group did not expect anyone to be present in Downey’s office during the rally, and it appeared that no one was there.

“Apr. 4 is the deadline for public comment with Greenbelt, and Bill 23 could pass any day, so we’re going to make as much noise as we can until Ford changes his mind,” Prophet said.

The group has received no response to emails and other communications about the issue, Prophet said, and she feels no one in government is listening to her concerns.

“To be completely honest, our democracy doesn’t seem to be working right now,” she said. “I have two children and I worry about the places we leave for them. I want them to be able to afford a home, I want them to live in the community of their choice, so I want Barrie and Orillia to have homes. It’s ridiculous to think that we have to sacrifice for each other.”

Is there a balance between protecting sensitive areas and building housing that the province desperately needs?

“Build houses where there are already roads and services, doctors and workplaces. Tell me, who wants to live in the middle of a swamp? People don’t want that,” replied the Prophet.

Elizabeth Dunn, another protester from the group, wanted to take an active role in a cause she believed in.

“I feel like I can be part of the solution. You can’t just sit on the couch and complain. You have to get those in power to listen to you, and most of Bill 23 is an erosion of our democracy,” she said. “It takes away the power of the public to say we don’t want this in our backyard. It takes away the power from our conservation agencies to say no, we have to save this land. I worry about what will happen to my grandson.”

Seven rallies are planned, and this is the third. Others are planned for Orillia, Midland, South Barrie and Holland Landing.


Protesters gather in Barrie against ‘cruel’ Act 23

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