Bungalows to three-storey homes
Brenda Hogg Richmond Hill Ward 2 Councillor
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.