Some Brantford residents concerned about proposed highway cutting through conservation area
BRANTFORD -- Some Brantford residents are speaking out about a proposed road expansion that would cut into the Brant Conservation Area.
The city is planning to expand Oak Park Road to help connect the northern and southern portions of the city.
Residents who are against the proposal said it could disrupt wildlife, adding the natural beauty of the park should be preserved. They've also started a petition to stop the city from building the road.
Amanda Frank comes to Brant Park to enjoy her coffee every morning.
"It's so quiet, the river is just beautiful," she said. "There's not as many people at sunrise, so I always see deer."
She's worried the park will be taken away.
"It's really sad that all this natural area will be disturbed with the construction," Frank said.
The City of Brantford's proposed road would run from Hardy Way to Colborne Street West.
"The driving force behind it is the development that's happening in the southwest of the city and the development of the northwest, to make sure there's a good connection between the two," said Russ Loukes, director of engineering with the City of Brantford.
The proposed four-kilometre road would run through the Brant Conservation Area and cross over the Grand River.
"I think this is absolute stupidity," Brantford resident Ray Simpson said.
Frank started a petition to stop the expansion.
"There is nothing that can replace nature," she said. "That's why I believe it's worth preserving."
Not all residents are against the expansion. Some said it's a good idea and will help ease traffic congestion.
Others said they'd prefer another route, including one that was supposed to be built decades ago.
"It was planned as a southern access route for the city 40 or 50 years ago," resident Mike Tutt said. "I'm going to say 80 per cent of it has been completed, except for the missing link that actually would attach the (Brantford Southern Access Route) to the west Brant area that is expanding."
"We did a feasibility study on that years ago, found there was no other option," Loukes said.
The city said it's performing an environmental assessment study to see how the proposed road would impact wildlife.
The project will cost more than $100 million. Public consultations are expected next month.