Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Can A Giant Ferris Wheel (Or Something Even More Grand) Be Far Behind?

These must be heady times indeed for those visionaries amongst us who, when they look at hectares upon hectares of greenspace, farmland, etc. see massive value-added opportunities for another kind of green, the kind salivated over by developers. One man, the putative next premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, is leading the charge:

As revealed in the above, Dougie is taking his direction from some of the country's biggest developers, the ones who see little value in preserving farmland, despite its necessity given the wild gyrations climate change is already imposing on food production everywhere. Cash in the hand, it would seem, trumps stewardship of the land.

As reported in The Star, Ford
said the 800,000-hectare swath of environmentally sensitive and agricultural land known as the Greenbelt is “just farmer fields.”

“It’s right beside a community. We need to open that up and create a larger supply,” he said, noting that will lead to “price drops” in housing in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
Note how the demagogic leader of the Progressive Conservative Party is couching his plan in the usual cant of his ilk: it is for the people and will lower housing costs.
“I support the Greenbelt in a big way. Anything we may look at to reduce housing costs — because everyone knows housing costs (are) through the roof and there’s no more property available to build housing in Toronto or the GTA — it will be replaced,” he said.

“Anything that we will look at on the Greenbelt will be replaced, so there will still be an equal amount of Greenbelt.”

It was unclear how Ford could expand the Greenbelt if the preserved land is paved over for development.
Details, mere details.

Ford's logic doesn't fly upon closer scrutiny:
Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence, said “the Greenbelt does not constrain housing supply or cause high house prices.”

“Municipal data shows that there is enough land available to provide for housing development within existing Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area urban boundaries until 2031,” said Gray.

“There are also abundant lands outside of towns and cities that are not within the Greenbelt that could be available for expansion after that date.”
Ontario Housing Minister recalls his time on Toronto city council when Ford had another 'grand idea':
as a city councillor when his late brother Rob Ford was mayor, the Tory leader wanted to redevelop Toronto’s port lands and build a massive Ferris wheel.
Now that he is poised to become the next premier, perhaps Mr. Ford will dare to dream even bigger:

All of which serves to remind me of something else: democracy is a fine system of government, as long as the people are paying attention to something more than the rambling, disingenuous rhetoric of hucksters.


  1. This reminds me of the endless battle the City of Vancouver has had with developers over the city's jewel, Stanley Park. Oh how they would love to take that priceless bit of real estate and replace the tall cedar and fir forests with an expanse of high-rise, million dollar plus condos. It's not that Vancouver hasn't had city councils dominated by developers. They've always been restrained by the knowledge that the public would absolutely, no question, take to the streets with pitchforks and torches before they would allow that park to be taken.

    BTW, I did that Mayer Hillman piece but I struggled with the decision.

    1. I'm not at all sure that the good people of Ontario would show the same resolve as the citizens of Vancouver, Mound. My despair over my fellow humans grows.

      I will check out your Hillman piece when I can muster up the fortitude.