A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘three torontos

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto Housing Market May Need Vancouver-Style Cooling, RBC Says”

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Doug Alexander and Katia Dmitrieva write for Bloomberg about the statement by the Royal Bank of Canada’s chief executive officer that Toronto’s housing market needs to be slowed down like Vancouver’s

Toronto may require measures to cool its red-hot housing market similar to moves taken in Vancouver if interest rates don’t increase, said Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer David McKay.

The head of Canada’s largest lender said Toronto housing is “running hot” and is fueled by a “concerning mix of drivers” that include lack of supply, continued low rates, rising foreign money and speculative activity. Similar circumstances in Vancouver prompted British Columbia’s government last year to impose a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers.

“In the absence of being able to use higher rates to reduce that, I do think we’re going to at some point have to consider similar measures to slow down the housing price growth,” McKay said Friday in a telephone interview.

The comments from the bank CEO come as frustration grows over the unaffordability of properties in Canada’s biggest city. The average home price in Toronto jumped 22 percent in January from the previous year, the fifth straight month of gains topping 20 percent. Listings have dropped off, down by half from last year, squeezing prices further.

The CEOs of Canada’s other big banks last year called on the government to increase housing regulation amid skyrocketing prices in Vancouver and Toronto. National Bank of Canada CEO Louis Vachon said that minimum downpayments should return to 10 percent from 5 percent, while Bank of Nova Scotia head Brian Porter suggested his company was pulling back on mortgage lending due to concern about high home prices in those two cities.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2017 at 7:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “No fixed address: How I became a 32-year-old couch surfer”

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CBC News’ Shannon Martin reports on how she became a couch surfer, as rent increases outpaced her ability to pay.

I’m 32 years old, work at my dream job and have an amazing circle of family and friends who love me. Life is pretty great.

There’s just one thing — and I can’t believe I’m about to admit this to you, but here goes.

Right now, I live nowhere in particular.

I’m a couch surfer.

For the record, I did have a nice place. But then my rent went up nearly $1,000 per month.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto council approves 2 per cent property tax increase”

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The Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro reports on how the new Toronto budget comes with a 2% property tax increase, raising some funds but apparently not enough to keep various Toronto public services needed running.

With council poised to approve a budget Mayor John Tory said kept property taxes at “reasonable” rates, critics said they would have trouble sleeping with cuts impacting the city’s most vulnerable.

A council meeting went late Wednesday night as members debated a budget some called “fair” and others contended was “unsustainable.”

Council did earlier approve a residential property tax rate hike that totals 3.29 per cent, or $90 extra for the average homeowner.

An attempt to prevent the elimination of 10 front-line shelter staff positions — at a time when those havens are exceeding capacity targets and those who rely on them struggle to find more permanent housing — failed 19-25. The mayor and all but one of his executive members voted against it.

Councillor Joe Cressy moved a motion that council keep the 10 frontline positions, by voting to increase the 2017 operating budget for shelter, support and housing administration by just over $1 million, by pulling funding from a property tax stabilization reserve fund.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2017 at 8:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Metrolinx ponders distance-based transit fares for all passengers in the Toronto region”

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The Toronto Star‘s Ben Spurr describes a Metrolinx proposal I am strongly opposed to. What about people who have long commutes? What about people on low incomes? What happens to the ideal of an integrated city if cost is introduced as a disintegrating factor?

How much should it cost to ride the TTC? According to a new policy under consideration by the province’s regional transit agency, it should depend on how far you travel.

Metrolinx, the provincial organization that oversees transit for the GTHA, is considering a fare model for the area’s transit operators that would see all passengers on buses, streetcars, subways, and GO Transit pay by distance.

A report on the issue will be discussed at Friday’s Metrolinx board meeting, as part of its ongoing fare integration project that aims to standardize the pricing policies of GO and the region’s nine municipal transit agencies.

The fare-by-distance model was made public Tuesday, and joins three other proposals that were already under consideration.

“It would be system-wide and be a very major dramatic change,” said Leslie Woo, chief planning officer for Metrolinx, “but it would enable greater consistency in fares (across the region) and it would better reflect the cost of the length of the trip.”

Woo said more work needs to be done to determine which model is best.

The three original options are: a modified version of the status quo that would provide discounts for riders crossing between the TTC and GO; a zone-based system that would charge riders more for crossing defined boundaries; and a hybrid that would have a flat rate for local bus travel but charge by distance or zone for subways and regional rail.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Parkdale landlord MetCap facing growing backlash over rent hikes at 87 Jameson”

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Rignam Wangkhang writes for NOW Toronto about the disputes of the tenants of Parkdale tower 87 Jameson Avenue with their landlord, MetCap. Between steep rent increases and an apparent lack of maintenance, tenant advocates argue that MetCap is trying to drive its tenants out so the tower could be gentrified.

Every day brings uncertainty for Diane Rajaram.

Although she’s been living at 87 Jameson since 1977, Rajaram isn’t even sure what days she’ll have running water.

“I work nights, and when I come home sometimes I don’t have water. I have to buy bottled water to wash my mouth,” says Rajaram, 63.

Last Wednesday, February 8, Rajaram rallied with fellow residents outside the offices of the Landlord and Tenant Board on St. Clair East to protest a request by apartment manager MetCap Living Management Inc. to raise rents 3 per cent above the 2 per cent allowed by provincial guidelines for each of the next three years. The company says the increases are to cover the cost of balcony renovations as well as upgrades to the building’s boiler room and garage at the 91-unit building.

But tenants say the proposed increases would hike their rents (currently about $1,000 a month) by several hundred dollars a year, which is simply unaffordable – and unfair given MetCap’s refusal to undertake long overdue repairs, including to properly heat the building in winter or deal with ongoing pest control problems. The tenants, who have since February 1 refused to pay rent, describe a climate of disrespect for them from building management.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 14, 2017 at 7:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Doug Ford leads protest against Tory’s budget and hints he might run for mayor”

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David Rider’s Toronto Star article is terribly worrisome, especially since Doug Ford is the political genius of the current generation of Fords. Rob, in truth, was but a puppet of his more functional brother.

I would like to believe that, with the memory of Rob Ford’s one term and with the very negative example of Trump to our south, Doug Ford would have no chance of being elected to the mayoralty of Toronto. I would like to believe this, but I cannot: Populism is really popular nowadays, especially if you have–as you do in the outer neighbourhoods of Toronto–populations which are relatively deprived and feel themselves to be disenfranchised. If we cannot offer better alternatives, I really can imagine a Mayor Doug Ford.

Several hundred people packed a Finch Ave. banquet hall to accuse Mayor John Tory of pushing a tax-heavy proposed 2017 budget.

The Monday night “budget consultation” on Finch Ave. W. was organized by Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti.

He told the crowd his often-outrageous antics are mostly to draw attention to city spending run amok.

“I’ll continue to take the blows (from other councillors) and yes, I am somewhat of a lone wolf at city hall because Doug (Ford) isn’t there,” he told the crowd.

Ford, the ex-councillor who lost to Tory in 2014 and says he might be up for a rematch in next year’s mayoral election, told the crowd: “The gravy train is in full swing down at city hall again.”

He repeated a discredited claim that his late brother Rob’s mayoral administration saved Toronto taxpayers “more than a billion dollars.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 13, 2017 at 11:59 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Parkdale tenants take to the street to fight rent hike”

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The Toronto Star‘s Emily Mathieu describes how the residents of 87 Jameson Avenue, a Parkdale apartment tower with a controversial record of maintenance and many tenants in poverty, are protesting plans for sustained high rent increases over the next several years.

For Sebastienne Incorvaia, what she pays for rent could mean the difference between putting food on the table and going hungry.

“It is hard, you know, the difference is do I buy all the food I need or do I eat cheese and toast for a lot of days?” says Incorvaia, 63, who has lived at 87 Jameson Ave. for five years and like other residents of the Parkdale building is facing a hefty rent increase.

Incorvaia and a group of fellow tenants are pushing back at efforts to make them pay more to live in a building they say is in disrepair, with water, heating, bug and maintenance problems and inaccessible to people with mobility issues.

On Wednesday, they took their grievances to the sidewalk for a rally outside the offices of the Landlord and Tenant Board, where they formally opposed an application by building manager MetCap Living Management Inc. to raise the rent 3 per cent above provincial guidelines, each year for three years, to cover the costs of renovations made to the 91-unit building.

While such increases are legal, they must be approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board. Tenant advocates say they are sometimes used to push out low-income tenants so landlords can renovate and jack up the rent.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm