Here's how Toronto can fund transit development

by Neil Sharma on 21 Mar 2018

As Toronto’s international reputation has grown, it’s often been said that the only thing preventing it from joining the likes of New York City, London and Paris is an inadequate transit system. But according to Davelle Morrison, the solution is simple.

“Redirect Section 37 funds to develop transit,” said the Bosley Real Estate sales agent. “Instead of having Section 37 money go towards parks and community centres, it should all be going towards transit. Transit is at a crisis at this moment.”

Section 37 of the Planning Act stipulates that developers make a donation in lieu of compliance with certain zoning regulations. However, not one to mince her words, Morrison describes Section 37 as “basically bribery money.”

She also believes Torontonians have become complacent about arguably the biggest issue facing their city.

“We are so small-minded that when we think about transit, we think the government needs to finance it. Well, let’s get creative. Sure, government could finance a portion; let’s have developers’ Section 37 money finance a portion, but let’s come up with some corporate sponsorship so that we get it done, and get it done efficiently.”

In spite of the streetcar pilot project, Morrison advises clients against purchasing condos in Liberty Village because the King streetcar is always overcapacity and she regularly hears about people walking home to Liberty Village from as far as the Financial District.

Similarly, others parts of Toronto are overburdened by penurious transit.

“I was showing a client in the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood a place and she walked outside and asked, ‘How am I going to get downtown? The subway here is really crowded.’ I agreed because I happen to live in that area as well and I know from experience how bad it is. Unfortunately, our city is very reactive and not very proactive, and that’s why our subway is as bad as it is.”

Morrison added that overcrowded subway cars are why there’s so much opposition to new development in Midtown.

“The concern is when you get underground during rush hour—how many trains will go by before you can get on? Three, four?”

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