Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sprawling, Sprawling, Sprawling...

Though The Roads Are Swollen
Keep Our Cities Sprawling
Oh My!
Developer's And Their Greed
On Short-Term Profits They Feed
And City Council's Always On Their Side.
It's All Disappearing
Good Farmland, Trees, They're Clearing
Burdened with one of the highest debt levels in the GTA, York Region officials are pressing some municipalities to fast-track suburban sprawl in an effort to tap into lucrative development fees. 
With a debt of $1.95 billion and growing, York Region is counting on the levies from current and future development of single-family homes in Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Markham to pay back the money it borrowed to build extensive water and sewer infrastructure. 
But encouraging this type of development runs counter to the province’s Places to Grow Act, which has mandated cities to begin building up instead of building out.
And critics warn, it’s a plan with the wrong incentive at heart: it puts the need for development dollars ahead of good planning that can, for example, ease congestion.{...}
Dividing the debt by population shows that every resident in York Region owes $1,840. In Toronto the amount is $1,305 per person.
Almost 78 per cent of York's debt charges are based on money it hopes to recover from future growth.
“How do we fund growth? We fund it through development charges,” said Edward Hankins, the region’s Treasury Office director. “But since we don’t get paid until a new resident moves in, we actually have to borrow the money in advance.”
So York Region incurred a debt to build water and sewer infrastructure to accommodate a population it doesn't have yet but anticipates it will have in the future from which it expects to recapture the money invested and hopefully see a profit.

And we all know where they expect to get the people to "move in" and pay down their debt don't we? 

This is a case of putting the carriage before the horse.  But it's also a form of gambling since they are investing money in anticipation of a positive outcome of a future event.  The problem here is that no one can predict the future and something may happen that will disrupt population growth in Ontario.

There's no guarantee immigrants will continue to settle in Ontario in such high numbers though the odds are pretty damn good.  The trend now is that many are heading west.

The immigration system may collapse under it's own weight.  It's simply too costly to run and the government may be forced to cut immigration dramatically.

The most concerning thing here is this "if you build it, they will come" approach to planning commits them to encouraging population growth and thus urban sprawl.  They will lobby the government to keep immigration levels high to help them recoup their investment.

But what kind of immigration can they expect to fuel their population growth?  Will they help build a liveable community or an urban sprawl slum?

The latter may very well be the case.  A related Toronto Star article reveals a map of Toronto and the GTA displaying areas of income disparity.
Toronto’s middle-class suburbs of the 1970s have turned into “urban deserts” of growing poverty while the city centre has become an enclave for the ultra rich.
But in the Montreal region, the suburbs are growing increasingly wealthy while poverty is spreading in the band of communities just outside the city’s historic downtown.
Meantime, the wealthy suburbs of North and West Vancouver have grown richer while poverty has spread east and south of downtown since 1970.
What’s common for all three cities, however, is that the middle class is shrinking, notes University of Toronto researcher David Hulchanski, whose ground-breaking The Three Cities Within Toronto report in 2007 was the first to map Statistics Canada Census income data over time by neighbourhood.
The new Montreal and Vancouver research, presented at U of T last week and not yet published, is part of a seven-year study of neighbourhood inequality in six Canadian cities that Hulchanski hopes will help explain why this is happening and what measures can halt or at least ease the 35-year-trend.
It's not that the middle class is shrinking, it's also being overrun by immigrants.  The red areas on the map clearly demarcate immigrant heavy, ethnic ghettoes that have taken root in Toronto over that past 35 years!  It doesn't a genius to see this but it takes an academic to totally miss it.

Here's another Toronto Star article that helps drive this point home.

Toronto’s poverty rates are higher than the provincial and national average. Overall, recent immigrants fare the worse with nearly half (46 per cent) in poverty. One in three children (under age 15) is living in poverty and 31 per cent of youths (15 to 24). Housing costs is the big driver, with almost 47 per cent of all tenants paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. Another 23 per cent pay an astonishing 50 per cent or more on rent. 
Earlier ward-by-ward profiles have shown Ward 1 Etobicoke North to have the highest incidence of child poverty and persistent overall poverty levels. The new report, based on 2006 census figures, show that Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale has the highest levels of poverty of any single ward. 
More than four in 10 (41 per cent) of Ward 28 residents live in poverty — that numbers 23,730, more than the population of many Ontario towns. In fact, no matter the overall state of the ward, every Toronto ward has significant pockets of poverty.
Ward 28, with Regent Park, Moss Park and parts of St. Jamestown, has numbers that leap off the page. Some 59 per cent of the kids are in poverty, 54 per cent of the youth, 52 per cent of racialized groups, 56 per cent of recent immigrants.
All those wards are areas of high immigrant settlement. 

This should raise questions about whether immigration of this massive scale was necessary since it's fruits are clear to see today.  If they want to halt or ease the "35-year-trend" how about looking to cutting immigration levels as part of the solution?

It should be clear to anyone now that immigrant driven population growth has been a disaster for Toronto and the surrounding area.  Not only is valuable farmland being threatened but we have created a place polarized not only by race, ethnicity, and religion but income as well.


Anonymous said...

Three California municipalities have declared bankruptcy in the past few weeks... and, with more to come.

Stockton and San Bernardino are the larger of the 3, and both majority populated with legal and illegal Hispanics (Mestizos, mixed Indian/Spanish blood), as you'll note by clicking those links.

Are these lessons on how not to manage a city when factoring in the regional demographics?

California's White population has diminished to about 40%, and is projected the state itself, will eventually declare bankruptcy in a few years.

The governing region of York is now heavily populated with higher IQ Asian Chinese immigrants, so I'm not suggesting York Region will follow the same route as California, but demographics is destiny, plus this Ponzi scheme must collapse at some point.

Nevertheless, vast swathes of Canada's prime real estate are being colonized by Non-white immigrants, and we too, are headed towards White minority status... as has California, a state populated with more people than all of Canada.

Canada's traditional majority White population enjoyed an agreeable proportion of about 95% just 31 years ago (1981).

But similar to California's demographics, White people are fast-becoming the minority race to the delight of tribal minorities who're only too happy to replace us.

PaxCanadiana said...

The governing region of York is now heavily populated with higher IQ Asian Chinese immigrants...

I fail to see how that is a benefit since the Asian community is notorious for minimizing if not dodging their tax obligations while maximizing their use of tax supported social programs. They're pretty much ripping us off.

In any case you raise an important example and California is worth keeping an eye on.