Have you ever noticed that a building site is acquired, plans go through municipal council, everything is ready and for the next two years, nothing has happened. There are many excuses for the lack of action and many reasons it can be to the developer’s advantage. It is why Toronto mayor John Tory has said he will ask the Ontario government for a ‘use it or lose it’ law as part of the super-mayor appointment.
There are many pairs of eyes warily watching this possibility. They are mostly from ratepayer groups who want to keep their neighbourhoods restricted to single-family dwellings. They want to keep house prices up and density down. It is selfish, anti-social and greedy. I always figured that people who did not want to live in a high-density city environment could find plenty of room for their picket fence and acre of lawn to mow, out in the country. They could also learn to enjoy the commute.
As a one-time ratepayers’ association president in Toronto, I watched the toadying of councillors, the machinations of developers and the gullibility of home owners, and I did not like it.
One time when my group learned about two proposed apartment towers near our community, I invited the developer to come to one of our meetings and tell us about the project. He was so surprised at a ratepayers group inviting him that he even brought his lawyer.
While I enjoyed his presentation and thought the proposal beneficial to the community, some of the hard-nosed in the group where out for blood. I kept quiet about my feelings on the subject.
To keep the usual story short, we soon had mayor Mel Lastman (of North York at the time) involved. Mel did his usual flimflamming and we soon had two of the tallest apartment towers in North York just down the road.
Surprisingly, John Tory is the only mayoralty candidate I know of who could get away with such an anti-developer and anti-ratepayer proposal. The ratepayers are not going to realize the danger in the super-mayor proposal in time and the developers will have no choice anyway.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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