The roaring success of Toronto’s housing boom could threaten the city’s potential for providing jobs, Mayor David Miller told the Greater Toronto Home Building Association last week.
“Employment districts are crucial for the city but we’re losing them because of the profitability of the residential industry,” said Miller.
Miller said that since city council approved Toronto’s new official plan five years ago, there have been 7,610 residential units planned for employment lands.
“If all these residential proposals proceed, we would remove 137 hectares of employment land for economic growth.”
Speaking about the need to create jobs, Miller said the city would be “in danger of becoming residential with people going to work outside Toronto,” if the city loses land used for employment.
One way to increase the supply of this land would be to redevelop brownfield sites, Miller suggested.
Miller also said the city fully intends to put a greater emphasis on green standards and rail transit.
“We have created new voluntary green standards,” Miller said. “People want to see green. As the city becomes more dense the importance of green space and great architecture is going to grow.”
Miller also said one of the biggest challenges to growth is that Torontonians have “developed a political climate of saying, `no,’ of stopping things. It’s time we organized to say `yes.’”
He cited the example of the Riocan building proposed for St. Clair Ave. Designed to be seven storeys, it was turned down by council. Then after hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent by the city on legal fees, it was approved as a six-storey building.