Thursday, April 18, 2024

We Will Not Solve Population Growth by Simply Sending People to Mars

I am concerned, especially about population growth. The latest news with regards to the one-way trip to Mars in 2024 caught my attention, ”Mars One: 6 Canadians make short list for 1-way trip to Mars.” Honestly, I think that is more like a suicide mission but then who knows. As a human race we have made extraordinary technological advances in the past 100 years and with ongoing technological advances now we definitely can do more of the extraordinary.

However, I will not change my mind; I still think it is a suicide mission. I am skeptical if this is the right thing to do as well? Do we really want this beautiful red planet out there to be subjected to the same damage and abuse as our planet Earth? We can’t possibly be ready as well. With throttling trips over a period of time the life of humans on Mars has limited sustainability and eventually there will be a big test of resiliency. The risk of future project funding may be in question as well. This is a one way trip, think about the implications. They can be interesting. And if it works perhaps it will be the beginning of a new bible story on Mars. Perhaps the bible story is an evolution story after all.

I asked myself a few times, what is the real purpose of this project? Is it to find life on Mars because we are curious? Or is it to start life on Mars because we are running out of space and resources here on Earth and if we don’t do anything now we will not survive? I really don’t know but I am speculating it is the both. The population growth everywhere is a real concern now.

“I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space.” ~ Stephen Hawking

Let’s scale down the thought of the one-way Mars travel project to the municipal community level concerns. In the Town of Aurora we are concerned with the constant increase of traffic on the roads and bottlenecks in certain intersections. The root cause no doubt is a population growth. The ultimate solution is to stop new residential developments. Unfortunately the answer is absolutely not.  Once municipalities grow, it is hard to stop the growth cycle since they become economically reliant on future growth for funding. Municipalities need more money and more money will come with these developments. The question I ask myself is at what cost once the growth eventually decreases here in Aurora? A simple spoon of medicine will not solve the heavy congestion on our streets. I also think that growth will continue. Look at the city of Toronto, they are growing upwards now and what prevents Aurora from doing the same in the near future.

I can understand urban sprawl on the outskirts of Aurora, but residential and high density developments in central Aurora do concern me. We already have heavy traffic congestion on Yonge Street yet we are allowing developments on every green inch left in town around Yonge Street. I asked myself are we going to ever revitalize the historic downtown core? If designated parking on Yonge Street is approved, I think it will only divert drivers away from downtown. Is that good for the downtown core businesses? What are the business signs for? They are for the businesses to be visible and to attract new clients, but if we constantly drive the same traffic through the same area, people will get tired of the same thing. At the same time new drivers will avoid the drive through downtown Aurora altogether. In the end there will be more potential for lease signs popping up just like I noticed the other day on a former small furniture place right on Yonge Street. The problem is not that easy to solve, there are positive implications to any development project initiative but there are also negative impacts that need to be considered as well.

“The human race should just slow down and think about what it is doing.” ~ Michael Palin

Among many developments throughout the Town of Aurora community the following are current developments that can potentially have a negative traffic impact along Yonge Street and the nearby side streets. I am sure many of you are aware of the big red crane near the Centre Street and Yonge Street intersection, the Kaitlin Corporation development. The Wells Street Lofts on Wells Street sold out and the project is on the go. Recently I attended a Public Planning meeting for a four storey condominium apartment building on George Street. There will be a three storey apartment building going in place of Sormeh Spa and Inn site on Wellington Street. If all goes as planned with those developments mentioned above there will be approximately 145 new living units in this area of our Town and likely at least the same number of additional drivers on those already congested streets.

Population Growth

Did I forget anything? How about the former Aurora Highland Gate Golf Club lands, a golf course recently closed. I don’t know the development specifics on this site but looking at the size of the land it is not going to be a small project. One last I know of is the Collis Leather factory site, where the building was recently demolished so the developer can perform further site contamination testing. I doubt any contamination will stop the developers. Most of the time developers are able to propose a solution for everything.

As long as a municipality like the Town of Aurora is inclined to grow there are no real solutions for traffic reduction, there are only solutions to ease the traffic with traffic studies followed by implementation of suggested ideas. And no, we shouldn’t plan to send people to Mars either.

In conclusion, I think it’s a good time to open up an aggressive conversation about the Town of Aurora’s population growth, traffic congestion and future transportation infrastructure maintenance. You will eventually hear more comments from me on this.  For now I stand by what I think about sending people away on a one-way trip to Mars, it is just plain cruel.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON


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