|Written by Gordon Prentice|
|Wednesday, 08 February 2012 19:36|
Slessor Square in Newmarket, Ontario, once home to a used car dealership, is set to be transformed into an “adult lifestyle community” whose well heeled residents will gaze down on the rest of us from their lofty twin towers.
The developers want approval for two towers of 29 and 26 storeys, dwarfing the surrounding area and casting a shadow over the adjacent neighbourhood.
They want the Town to amend their own Official Plan to allow the project to go ahead. The maximum height of buildings is currently 8 storeys.
The flats will all be sold at the market rate despite regional guidelines that call for 25% of new developments to be allocated for affordable housing.
The developers say they are proposing “a specialised form of housing that will be marketed towards older adults and seniors” and the affordable housing provisions “cannot be applied to the units within the proposed development”.
With the property market sizzling, developers are hungry for land and for the planning permissions they need to make their millions.
Research by Ontario academic, Professor Robert MacDermid shows large numbers of politicians relying heavily on contributions from builders and developers to finance their election campaigns. But campaign donations fall outside the rules governing declarations of interest.
It is up to the councillor to declare a conflict of interest if he or she believes one has arisen.
Shouldn’t there be greater transparency?
Seems to me the time is ripe for all applications for planning approvals to list any political donations that have been made by the developer to any councillors involved in the decision.
Why not make this disclosure routine?
And since you ask, Slessor Square’s developer, Dwight Slessor Holdings Ltd, has contributed to the election war chests of councillors who will have a say in deciding whether the project gets the go ahead.
It is all perfectly legal.
But quite wrong.
Canada’s Liquor laws
At long last, Canada’s prohibition era liquor laws are being overhauled.
Bill C311, now before the Canadian House of Commons, will sweep away a 1928 law that makes it illegal to transport or ship “intoxicating liquors” across provincial borders.
The current madness means you can legally ship a bottle of wine from, say, British Columbia to the UK – but not to Nova Scotia.
Only Provincial Liquor Boards can legally import alcohol across provincial borders.
Here in Ontario, there are 618 LCBO stores (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) whose iron monopoly delivers a steady revenue into the Provincial coffers. A healthy $1.56 billion last year. But the evidence shows this monopoly keeps prices way too high.
Anywhere else, the idea of buying alcohol from the State alone would seem very strange. Even weird.
But not here.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 26 February 2012 12:25|