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Toronto

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

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6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

Toronto

By Wayne Karl

The countdown is on – just days to go to the 2018 Ontario municipal elections. In Toronto, in what’s shaping up to be a two-horse race between Mayor John Tory and challenger Jennifer Keesmaat, housing is one of the key issues.

But it’s not the only city or town in and around the GTA where real estate development is a hot topic.

Here’s a select list of a few more municipal elections to watch, and we might as well start with the biggest and highest profile municipality:

TORONTO

Incumbent: John Tory
Challenger: Jennifer Keesmaat
What’s at stake: Housing affordability, or the lack thereof. Both Tory and Keesmaat have announced plans to address the growing affordability issue in the city – what some describe as a crisis. Keesmaat wants to build 100,000 units of “truly affordable, high-quality housing in the next 10 years.” This is a plan some sources in the industry have already declared as doomed to fail.

Tory proposes to build 40,000 affordable rental units over 12 years, or roughly 3,300 annually.

The challenge for both? Defining what affordable housing even is, in a city with median home prices of $883,892, andthe most expensive average one-bedroom rent in the country, $1,900 per month.

Home builders have been lobbying the City and the Province to address land supply and other policies which complicate this already complex issue.

 

MARKHAM

Markham

Incumbent: Frank Scarpitti
Challenger(s): Steven Chen, Shan Hua Lu, Abdul Rahman Malik, Jawed Syed
What’s at stake: As the fourth most populous community in the GTA after Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, Markham has been a hotbed for economic growth and development for years. It has also become one the most expensive housing markets, with median home prices of almost $1 million for the third quarter of 2018, according to Royal LePageAnd Scarpitti, first elected in 2006 and known as developer- and builder- friendly, has been there through much of it.

 

BRAMPTON

Brampton

Incumbent: Linda Jeffrey
Challenger(s): Mansoor Ameersulthan, former Ontario PC Party leader Patrick Brown, Baljit Gosal, Wesley Jackson, Vinod Kumar Mahesan, John Sprovieri
What’s at stake: Brampton is booming, and Jeffrey is seeking a second term after winning the 2014 election with almost 50 per cent of the vote.

Vision 2040 is an ambitious long-term plan to reinvent Brampton, and includes transformations such as model new neighbourhoods connected by an expanding transit network, new core loop, walking and cycling networks, communities designed to promote walking, and a new eco-park and sustainability built into everything.

There’s also a significant education infrastructure project that will bring a new Ryerson University campus, with Sheridan College as an academic partner, to downtown Brampton for 2022. Oh, along with thousands of students.

 

ORANGEVILLE

Orangeville

Incumbent: Jeremy Williams
Challenger(s): Sandy Brown, Darrin Davidson
What’s at stake: Been to Orangeville lately? It’s no longer a sleepy little pit-stop town as you drive north to Collingwood or Georgian Bay.

With new home and community development taking place, particularly in the west part of town, the biggest challenge Orangeville faces is urbanization. Williams wants to preserve the small town feel and welcome development, while avoiding becoming a discount housing destination for people moving north out of the Toronto area.

Brown, a local realtor, likely understands the issues, and wants to “arrest out of control spending.”  He says Orangeville residents pay the highest property taxes in the GTA.

 

OSHAWA

Oshawa

Incumbent: Current mayor of Oshawa John Henry has given up his seat to run as Durham’s regional chair
Challenger(s): Kenneth Carruthers, Dan Carter, Joe Ingino, Adam Kunz, Sara Lear, Rosaldo Russo, Bob Rutherford
What’s at stake: In short, continued growth in population and economic diversity, which drive housing demand. Oshawa’s population grew to 379,848 in 2016, according to the 2016 Census, up 6.6 per cent from 2011. This is second in the entire province only to Guelph – and even ahead of Toronto at 6.2 per cent.

Oshawa is expected to boast one of the fastest growing economies in the province this year, with growth of 2.6 per cent, according to the Conference Board of Canada. And this is down from 3.2 per cent in each of the last two years.

In terms of housing development, several builders are active in the area with lowrise homes. Homebuyers are liking the comparative bargains and the proximity to Toronto.

 

BARRIE

Barrie

Incumbent: Jeff Lehman
Challenger: Ram Faerber
What’s at stake: Lehman is seeking his third term, while local businessman Faerber is looking to unseat him.

Barrie ceased being a weekend destination years ago, and has become a favourite among real estate investors for its population growth and the job opportunities that come with a growing and increasingly diverse local economy.

However, as a smaller centre (population of 197,059,up 5.4 per cent from 2011), Barrie is sometimes subject to market swings. Median home prices slipped five per cent for the third quarter of 2018, from the same period last year, to $505,136. Some shorter-term good news, however, is that prices are up 0.4 per cent from the second quarter of this year.

Wayne Karl is Senior Digital Editor at Homes Publishing. wayne.karl@homesmag.com 

RELATED READING

Keesmaat’s 100,000 housing plan doomed to fail

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

Housing policies must focus on supply

 

 

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Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO)

Put this on your TO DO list

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Put this on your TO DO list

Toronto Design Offsite Festival’s (TO DO) first ever foray to Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue happens this month.

A giant piñata stuffed full of design promise and whimsy is coming to a midtown office lobby this month as part of Toronto Design Offsite Festival’s (TO DO) first ever foray to Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue.

A week’s worth of art and festival programming will be anchored by three immersive installations designed by leading architecture and design firms Gensler, IBI Group and Superkül. There will also be an exhibition by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind exploring the latest assistive technology for those who are visually impaired.

Rounding out the programming will be two interactive sessions. The first is a talk called “Undo Toronto” where speakers from each of the participating design firms are bestowed the power to go back in time and undo one thing about Toronto, while proposing an alternative vision. The second is a tour of the area led by three of the city’s leading public art experts, Ilana Altman of The Bentway, Patricio Davila from OCAD University and Anjuli Solanki from the STEPS Initiative.

The TO DO Festival programming at Yonge and St. Clair is led by festival organizers with the support of Slate Asset Management.

“We’re committed to re-establishing Yonge and St. Clair as a destination address in the city,” says Brandon Donnelly of Slate Asset Management and the host of the Undo Toronto talk. “That commitment goes beyond the development and revitalization of buildings in the area. We want to support the infusion of arts and culture, and provide opportunities for community engagement.”

Slate is in a unique position to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of Yonge and St. Clair, having acquired 10 properties in the area, including all four corners, over the last four years. Since 2016, Slate has introduced a new eight-storey mural by international street artist Phlegm, and ushered in a series of public space improvements, including a Ravine Bench designed by participating design firm Gensler.

Installations include:

“#ohdear” by Gensler
At 2 St. Clair Avenue West. Inspired by the history of Deer Park, a giant deer piñata will be set up in the lobby and each evening during the week the piñata will be lowered, leading up to the final night when people can reach its belly and open the piñata.


“Second Life” by Superkül

At 40 St. Clair Avenue West. Through a series of curated images, this installation considers and presents architectural and construction waste reframed as an opportunity.


“The Space Between” by IBI Group

At 55 St. Clair Avenue West. This evolving interactive lobby installation will incorporate both digital and analog elements that layer dynamic GPS mapping data with interactive analog components. Visitors and residents of the area are empowered to contribute their points of view as to how they interact with the public environment in the area they call “home.”


 The Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) is Canada’s largest cultural celebration of design with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week, January 15-21. Going into its eighth year, TO DO transforms Toronto into a hub for creativity, taking design and art out of the studio and into the urban sphere, bringing people together to celebrate contemporary culture.

EVENTS

Undo Toronto 
Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 6 to 8 p.m.

You are bestowed the power to go back in time and undo one thing about Toronto, what would it be? Once undone, what action would you take in its place? This year marks the 225th anniversary of the Town of York and the 20th anniversary of Toronto’s amalgamation into a mega-city. Both occasions offer the perfect opportunity to reflect on our history. Listen as leading architecture firms Gensler, IBI Group, and Superkül take their turn pressing Ctrl Z on Toronto, making a case for change, one civic moment at a time. At 55 St. Clair Avenue West.

Smashing Barriers, Creating Vision
Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 6 to 8 p.m.

An interactive exhibition showcasing the cutting-edge technology and accessible design that helps smash societal barriers for blind Canadians. Find out how CNIB made Yonge and St. Clair the most accessible neighbourhood in Canada with live demonstrations of beacon navigation technology. At 1525 Yonge Street.

Creating Communities Through Art
Saturday, January 20, 11 a.m. to noon

Join a group of public art experts for a thought-provoking walking tour at the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair. Ilana Altman (The Artful City/Pavillion Project/The Bentway), Patricio Davila (OCAD), and Anjuli Solanki (STEPS Initiative) will provide their own perspectives on the architect-designed installations, give insight into their experience in public art and raise questions about art in the urban realm. The tour will start in the lobby of 2 St. Clair Avenue West.

todesignoffsite.com



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