A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘three torontos

[URBAN NOTE] “High rent could make Toronto a ‘generational ghost town'”

CBC News’ Kate McGillivray wrote about the risk of high rents driving young pepe out of Toronto.

Young people across the income spectrum who would like to build lives in Toronto are choosing to leave rather than pay the city’s ever-increasing rents.

For 27-year-old Arthur Gallant, that’s meant moving from Etobicoke, to Burlington, to Hamilton in search of an affordable apartment for himself and his mother.

“You can only move so far west until you hit water and there’s nowhere left to live,” he said in an interview with CBC Toronto.

Gallant is one of hundreds of people who reached out to CBC Toronto as part of our No Fixed Address series, which explores the city’s rental housing market.

Among the stories that have poured in, many are from native Torontonians like him, who would like to live in Toronto but find that apartments cost more than they are willing or able to pay.

“It’s a code-red, sirens-blaring kind of issue because we need to recognize the degree to which the standard of living is in free fall for younger demographics,” said Paul Kershaw, a University of British Columbia professor and the founder of Generation Squeeze, a campaign that raises awareness about the economic pressure faced by younger Canadians.

“Housing prices are squeezing younger people out.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO shares media exploring how Toronto was marketed internationally in the 1980s. This decade apparently saw less concentration on landmarks and more on cultural activities.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a National Geographic collection of the childhood maps of cartographers.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the loosening of China’s one-child policy has not resulted in much change.
  • Justin Petrone wonders if Estonians are weird.
  • Steve Munro reports on the many, many problematic things coming out of Metrolinx, including fare-by-distance and the ongoing PRESTO disasters.
  • Supernova Condensate shares a thought-provoking set of statues on global warming, Follow the Leaders.
  • Torontoist’s Kieran Delamont notes the astonishing thoughtlessness of new fashion brand Homeless Toronto.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at a Belarus in a state of political ferment that might–might–be pre-revolutionary, and wonders if disbanding Russia’s ethnic republics could be profoundly destabilizing.

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

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”

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”

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”

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”

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