Toronto Builder - Fall 2009 - (Page 23)

MOVING THE FUTURE The Big Move and the new legislative powers granted to Metrolinx By G. Annette Redican TO BE SUCCESSFUL, progressive builders and renovators and developers need to design and offer product that will best match the marketplace’s current and future demands. As it is elsewhere, that’s the stark reality for developers based in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). One of the fastest growing regions in North America, annually claiming an influx of 100,000 new people and 50,000 additional automobiles, more than six million people currently live and work in the GTHA. By 2031, the area’s population is expected to number 8.6 million. Clearly, this projected growth represents tremendous opportunity for local builders and renovators/developers. But as with most good things, success won’t come without its share of challenges. One of the key hurdles… and The Big Move meant to address it… was recently explored at the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) seminar “The New Metrolinx: Building for the Future Now,” which was held June 10, 2009 at On the Park, Centennial Ballroom, and featured Mr. Robert Prichard, President and CEO, Metrolinx. Prichard presented an illuminating status update on The Big Move while outlining the new legislative powers granted to Metrolinx under the Metrolinx Act, 2006. There is virtually undisputed agreement, at all levels and among all sectors in the GTHA, that major advancements in the region’s rapid transit are paramount if the area is to remain a desirable and infinitely livable urban area. These improvements will need to support economic growth, mitigate traffic congestion and address environmental considerations. This is the mission of Metrolinx, a new organization that recently formed as result of the official merger between GO Transit and the former Metrolinx. Put very simply, Metrolinx’s mandate is to deliver these improvements in rapid transit while laying the foundation for a sustainable strategy that will ensure the long-term vitality of the GTHA. On November 28, 2008, the Metrolinx Board of Directors unanimously adopted the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), The Big Move: Transforming Transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The plan’s stated objective is to create a common vision for transportation in the region. When builders and renovators/ developers contemplate the future housing market, key considerations, including product, design and density, shape the communities they will bring to the marketplace. The Metrolinx plan, The Big Move, will now serve as a cohesive and far-reaching blueprint as to how this future development will be influenced and shaped. At the recent BILD-sponsored event, Robert Prichard emphasized the Premier’s top three priorities for the new Metrolinx. Prichard notes, “Initially, get the first five major transit projects built – on time and on budget. Second, implement the necessary measures to improve the quality, reliability and availability of GO Transit so the services become a transit choice the commuter can’t refuse. Finally, work in tandem with all relevant stakeholders to develop an investment strategy that will sustain these transit investments beyond the initial $10 billion so that the GTHA will never again be forced to play catch up.” Now, as builders and renovators tackle the tricky task of looking down the road with the intent of the clarifying the future, this broadly-formulated plan will inform and elucidate this vision. For the first time, The Big Move, which has been unanimously approved and endorsed by the regional Mayors and Chairs, proposes a clear, definitive map for development meant to best meet the needs of the Region as whole. In his remarks to BILD, Robert Prichard observed, “The Big Move is a singular achievement – a major step forwards. Supported by a strong legislative and policy mandate, it provides a strategic, long-term vision for coordinated transportation across the entire GTHA. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s a commitment to higher quality of life, a thriving and sustainable environment and strong, prosperous economy.” The most ambitious, long-term transportation plan ever conceived in North American, The Big Move aims to aggressively restore the previous superiority in mobility that was the hallmark of this region in the post-war era. The plan’s overarching principles will combine with measurable action to shape every transportation decision made throughout the GTHA. This Big Move provides both a compelling vision as to how things should be and the connectivity, which has been previously lacking, to facilitate this development. The resulting cohesion should immediately see the delivery of real, tangible results. It’s nothing short of a new way of doing business. From the perspective of BILD’s members, of course, the proof is in the pudding. Welcome news included the announcement that initial funding advanced by the Province will support early projects as the discussion about the long term evolves. Additionally, the announced infusion of $11.5 billion to begin the implementation of The Big Move, which should see shovels in the ground as early as 2009 on five key transit projects, is also an especially positive manifestation. Improved rapid transit is absolutely essential to the quality of life in the GTHA and everyone can build on that! A Toronto Builder • Fall 2009 • 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Toronto Builder - Fall 2009

Toronto Builder - Fall 2009
Chair’s Message
President’s Message
Double Victory for Fact-based Lobbying BILD Efforts Results in Better Tax Deal for Homebuyers and Builders
BILD Housing Study Tour
Moving the Future
LEED for Neighbourhood Development
Habitat BBQ
Habitat BILD Day
National Home Show
RealNet GTA Market Update
Sponsor Profile
Calendar of Events
Marketing Partners and Corporate Sponsors
Welcome New Members
Index to Advertisers

Toronto Builder - Fall 2009