Bun­ga­lows to three-storey homes

Brenda Hogg Rich­mond Hill Ward 2 Coun­cil­lor

Thornhill Post - - News -

Rich­mond Hill sur­veys its ratepay­ers on an an­nual ba­sis and con­sis­tently gets a high rat­ing of sat­is­fac­tion. Even so, at times I am con­fronted by an­gry con­stituents.

Their com­plaints in­clude “Why did you al­low some­one to build a three-storey house vir­tu­ally in my back­yard!?” (Be­cause we’re meet­ing pro­vin­cial Smart Growth On­tario guide­lines for eco­nomic, sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.) “Why are you al­low­ing so many of ‘THOSE PEO­PLE’ to move in?” (Fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion sup­ports the na­tional econ­omy. It is in­ter­est­ing to note that the com­plainant was not born in Canada.) “Did you know that our wa­ter rates are go­ing up 10 per cent?” ( Yes. New pro­vin­cial laws and re­gional costs to de­liver wa­ter have in­creased.) “Prop­erty taxes are too high!” (Prop­erty taxes are high in large part be­cause our pro­vin­cial prop­erty tax sys­tem is based on mar­ket value assess­ment, based on hous­ing prices rather than in­come or the abil­ity to pay.) “What am I sup­posed to do –– move?” (Res­i­dents who qual­ify may re­ceive prop­erty tax re­lief from the town.)

By us­ing prin­ci­ples of Smart Growth to build our com­mu­ni­ties up, not out, fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will be able to en­joy all mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices from wa­ter and waste wa­ter man­age­ment, solid and haz­ardous waste col­lec­tion, pub­lic tran­sit, health care ser­vices, po­lice ser­vices to the pro­tec­tion of agri­cul­tural lands and park­lands. To achieve these long-term goals, neigh­bour­hoods will evolve to a mix of 1960 bun­ga­lows and new three-storey homes. It isn’t an easy tran­si­tion, but it is nec­es­sary.

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