York conference on Kyoto and urban sprawl draws prominent speakers


Prominent politicians, experts and activists will converge at York’s Glendon College July 25-27 to take part in the conference Kyoto and Sprawl: Building Cities That Work.

There will be recommendations arising from the conference on reducing urban sprawl and traffic gridlock in the GTA and other Ontario cities. In addition, following the conference the formation of a new coalition to stop urban sprawl will be announced.

Experts in planning, transportation, economic development, health and conservation will be joined by federal MPs David Collenette, above left, (Minister of Transport, and York alumnus) and Alan Tonks, above right, (parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment, and York alumnus); national NDP leader Jack Layton (York alumnus), below left; and environmental activists Elizabeth May, below right (Sierra Club of Canada), and Glenn De Baeremaeker, bottom left (Save the Rouge Valley System).

Also attending are local politicians Joe Mihevc, Howard Moscoe and Brenda Hogg, Waterloo Mayor Lynne Woolstencroft, and MPPs Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence) and Michael Prue (Beaches-East York).

“Sprawling urban development is threatening us all and it’s time we woke up and confronted its implications,” said conference Chair Edmund (Terry) Fowler, professor emeritus of local government and environmental policy at Glendon College.

“This conference will stimulate public debate and political action in advance of provincial and municipal elections this fall to start meeting our commitments to the Kyoto Accord on global warming.”

Participants will examine past lessons such as the Stop Spadina campaign of the 1960s, and current issues, such as development along the Oak Ridges Moraine watershed and opposition to the plan to construct a Big Pipe sewer system in King City.

A unique feature of the conference is a series of cross-disciplinary, collaborative workshops, each led by an expert in the field and by a municipal advisor, local official or politician.

The workshops will produce plans and strategies to curb sprawl and its associated problems, such as the loss of prime agricultural land to residential and commercial development, commuter gridlock and smog. Michael W. Roschlau, president and CEO of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, will lead a discussion on “Liberation from the Car.”

For further details about the conference, visit www.kyotoandsprawl.ca.