Robyn Doolitte at the Toronto Star moved over to the Homes section this weekend, writing a report on the city’s development industry, and their hope that Rob Ford will just let them do whatever the hell they want:
Although he offered few specifics, Ford’s campaign rhetoric struck a sympathetic tone towards builders. Ford said Section 37 fees, which allows the city to be flexible with height and density requirements in exchange for community benefits, were tantamount to “extortion.”
He also vowed to abolish the land transfer tax and speed up the approvals process since, “time is money.”
Rob Ford is not really an ideological conservative. He just surrounds himself with ideological conservatives. And he happens to be very receptive to people and organizations who tell them they’re being screwed over by governments.
But, c’mon, acting like developers have been treated poorly over the past decade in this city is goddamned ridiculous. The dozens of cranes dotting the city skyline don’t speak to an industry that’s barely been scraping by under the weight of city bureaucracy, taxes and red tape.
How anyone can look at the numbers both before and after the implementation of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax and argue that it hurt real estate in this city is beyond me. Similarly, those who make the simplistic argument that development charges and fees will simply be passed on to consumers demonstrate a lack of understanding as to how the market works. (Here’s a hint: developers already charge as much as the market will bear for their condos and homes.)
Related to this is a John Lorinc story for the Globe, where he points out that it’s probably reasonable to expect more big box developments in the city over the next four years.