Adapted from article BY JESSICA SMITH CROSS, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Ontario’s anti-sprawl policies, which is the main cause of the current housing supply shortage in Toronto and the surrounding areas, are going to get tougher.
Any future projects on undeveloped land will have to accommodate more people and jobs – a minimum of 80 per hectare, up from the current 50 – and there will be higher density targets around GO Transit and subway stations, light rail and bus rapid transit.
Before you start celebrating, know this; the province is giving municipalities until 2031 to meet the new targets set out in its updated growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe region; that's 14 years from now. (slow clap)
Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro says that the objective of the plan is “building complete and more compact communities, that support transit, create jobs, reduce sprawl and protect our environment.”
Under the plan, 60 per cent of new residential development will take place in already developed areas, up from 40 per cent today. The majority of this development will take place close to mass transit routes like the Go Train.
The growth plan is meant to accommodate the growing population in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which is expected to reach 13.5 million by 2041, an increase of 4 million people.
Proponents of the plan say it protects agricultural and ecologically sensitive land and creates walkable communities that can be well-served by transit. Blah blah blah.
Is protecting wetlands and farmland okay if it means future generations will not be able to own a detached house?
I'm not saying we shouldn't protect the environment or our agriculture land. Not at all. I just don't want our government being the only ones coming up with ideas.
What needs to done is what was done with King St. West more than 20 years ago. The city was desperate and they removed a lot of red tape so that developers could do what they do; create. The result was a model for transforming industrial areas into vibrant residential areas that is being studied and adopted by cities around the world.
They took a dilapidated warehouse district and turned it in to a vibrant community. They created communities where you can work, shop, dine and be entertained without having to get in to a car. They took a dangerous neighbourhood after dark and created a prosperous community.
This can be done in all kinds of areas in the city. I'm thinking of the Weston Road area, Scarborough and places like that. I don't know how it will look but there are very smart people who work for these development companies. Take the blinders off them. Give them a blank canvas and see what they come up with. I certainly don't want government being in charge of this.
What needs to happen is innovation and that won't happen by legislating the crap out everything. Maybe it means more condos, maybe it means planned communities in the countryside that we connect via transit, but whatever it is, we need it sooner than later.
Intensification is the only way to go in the GTA if we hope to keep it affordable.
To read more about this new plan you can check out the original article by Jessica Smith Cross.