Urban sprawl: It’s creeping this way to Niagara

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Urban sprawl: It’s creeping this way to Niagara
© Craig Robertson / Postmedia Network
Urban sprawl: It’s creeping this way to Niagara
© Craig Robertson / Postmedia Network

Along the lake, construction cranes are popping up from Stoney Creek to Grimsby. Growth with a capital G is spreading to Niagara like an unstoppable force.

It was only a matter of time, with more than 100,000 people moving to the GTA annually. Those who want better value for their dollar and were buying in Hamilton, and now Niagara.

What implications does this have for Niagarans?

The answer is: serious ones. With the lake being surrounded by condos and townhomes, and talk of “biodiversity offsetting” (surely one of the craftiest misnomers of the past 10 years), if you aren’t a little anxious about what the future holds you should be.

Since the new millennium, Niagara has a wonderful track record of leveraging its strong suits. The wineries, just a blip 25 years ago, are now a hotspot for tourists. They not only help utilize and preserve some of the province’s most picturesque lands, but are also a reliable economic engine. Alcohol is recession-proof.

Niagara’s thriving agriculture industry, some of which focuses on encouraging people to buy local, has likewise proven itself to be a jewel in the region’s crown.

But what happens if development gets out of hand?

If the GTA’s recent history is any indicator, development can be insatiable. Not long ago, cities like Mississauga had plenty of green space and politicians in Burlington and Oakville swore the sprawl would halt south of Dundas Street.

Now, Mississauga is about as green as the QEW, and Burlington and Oakville are doing away with most of their natural land. […]

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